The iconic Tour France has always been held as a high physically demanding championships of the world but this year it seems even tougher given the addition of cobble terror in the race route.
Interestingly, the Tour France route tends to change with each passing year to pose unique demands on the riders, teams & their resources. This year, the tour has been divided into as many as 21 stages which encompasses a total area of around 3,656 km. The 2014 route includes 9 flat stages followed by 5 filly stages, 6 mountain stages, a 54 km long trial & 2 rest days. The versatility of the championship track demands various specialized equipments with better edgy features than those that were used in the previous Tour France versions.
According to experts, it’s the cobbled route that constitutes the intriguing-most aspect of 2014 Tour France. The cobbled route would come at the 5th stage. The tour cyclists, who usually weigh in between 60 -80 kg would have to face massive impact & vibrations while they pass through these surfaces. The terrifying but is that as the cobbled roads are an old phenomena these are hardly flat. Breakage, wear & subsidence have made them very coarse and uneven. To maximize the control & speed, the best of riders usually cycle along the middle side of the cobbled track. However, the seasoned riders might even take to dirt gutter area in between cobbles & grass banks located at road sides as these assure a comparatively smoother surface.
The cobbled track gets exceptionally tougher in wet conditions when it is extremely dangerous to ride on even slightest of cambers. Loss in control, crashes & punctures are common occurrences at this situation & injuries could be severe.