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MILAN (VN) — Tour de France organizer ASO will present its 2015 route next Wednesday in Paris [Watch a live broadcast of the presentation on VeloNews, starting at 5:30 a.m. Eastern on October 22 -Ed.], but it is unable to stop leaks that include rumors of summit finishes to Plateau de Beille, Pra Loup, and Alpe d’Huez, and the return of the team time trial.
ASO announced November 8, 2013 that it would begin the 102nd edition in Utrecht, Netherlands. On July 4, cyclists competing for the yellow jersey will time trial 13.7 kilometers around the bike-mad city. Their next turn is unknown, but local French newspapers have been slowly leaking details ahead of the presentation at the Palais des Congrès.
The 2015 route will travel roughly counter-clockwise around France. After leaving the Netherlands and Belgium, it will reportedly pass through Normandy and Brittany before skipping south to Pau on its first rest day, July 13. The peloton will climb high mountain passes in the Midi-Pyrénées and the Alps, and finish on the Champs-Élysées on July 26.
A team time trial is expected to return on July 8 after a hiatus in 2014. Le Courrier Picard newspaper reported that Amiens will host the stage finish, and given the previous day’s proximity, the event that Orica-GreenEdge won in 2013 could fit in perfectly on stage 5 in the country’s North.
Also, the Tour de France will reportedly return to the Mûr-de-Bretagne. Cadel Evans (BMC) won a short and sharp uphill sprint there in 2011, narrowly beating Alberto Contador and paving the way to his overall win.
The classification should not explode, however, until the second week when the race travels South to the high mountains near the border with Spain. According to various local newspapers like La République des Pyrénées, the Tour will feature summit finishes to La Pierre Saint-Martin and the Plateau de Beille ski stations.
The Tour has never finished at La Pierre Saint-Martin. It crossed the 1,766-meter pass (5,794 feet) in 2007, but the ski station finish could come slightly further down from the border with Spain and provide a climb of 20 kilometers. It last climbed the 15.8 kilometres to Plateau de Beille, at 1,790 meters (5,873 feet), in 2011 when Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) won.
In the Alps, the 2015 Tour de France will reportedly visit the Pra-Loup, the Toussuire, and the Alpe d’Huez ski resorts.
Some newspapers reported that the Tour could finish at its highest ever point, the Bonette-Restefond at 2,715 meters (8,907 feet) for the first time, but that now appears unlikely. Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper said that that the Tour will travel from Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup at 1,630 meters (5,348 feet), where 40 years prior, Belgian Eddy Merckx lost control of the Tour de France.
Pierre Rolland (Europcar) won the 18-kilometer climb to Toussuire (5,594 feet) in 2012 when behind, Chris Froome seemingly attacked Sky teammate and race leader, Bradley Wiggins. Alpe d’Huez is a regular stop for the Tour, which first used the summit finish in 1952 when Fausto Coppi won.
The Alpe d’Huez finish at 1,850 meters (6,070 feet) would decide the overall classification with the race due to travel to Paris for the next day’s flat sprint stage finish on the Champs-Élysées. ASO, however, will only reveal the exact details Wednesday of the 2015 Tour de France.
Editor’s note: Tune in at 5:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, October 22 to watch the route presentation live on VeloNews.