Riders react to race route
Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish all looking forward
Last Updated: 24/10/12 2:25pm
Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish joined other big names
Bradley Wiggins’ first impression of the 2013 Tour de France is that it is a tough one, but the defending champion is looking forward to an exciting three weeks of racing.
Wiggins was one of three Team Sky riders to attend the glitzy route presentation in Paris, with Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish joining him in the French capital.
Wiggins sat close by his team-mates as the route was unveiled, and after taking in the presentation he revealed Team Sky would now go away, digest the information, and assess their greatest chance for success in the race’s 100th edition.
He said: "It's hard to gauge what the course is like by purely looking at the stage graphics, but it's going to be a tough one. The Tour's never easy and there's always something to challenge the riders.
"Last year a lot of crashes happened in that first week and I think that will be very similar next year. That whole element of staying in front and not going down is going to come into play massively.
“There’s a team time trial on stage four, but it’s not very long, so the gaps will be very small during that first week. There are two very short time trials as well and some real classic climbing up the Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux.
“All that means it’s going to be a hard race, but these routes always look harder in October when you’ve put a bit of weight on and not been on the bike for a few weeks (laughs).”
In terms of Team Sky’s approach, Wiggins added: "Our season has only just finished but Dave Brailsford and the management team will go away now and look at everything to see where our chances best lie. It is in their hands as to how they devise the team tactically for next year.
“Once that’s decided we will train to the demands of that event. That's what Tim (Kerrison) and the performance team will do.”
Leading into the ceremony, rumours had been rife that the Tour’s centenary edition would be one of the hardest in its long and illustrious history, but Chris Froome didn’t feel that was necessarily the case when he was interviewed immediately after the event.
He said: "It's not quite as hard as I expected it to be. For the 100th edition I was expecting the organisers to go all-out in the mountains. There are definitely some challenging stages though - the Mont Ventoux and Alpe d'Huez to name to name but a few.
"I like it; it's a very testing circuit. The two time trials are around 30km each and then there are about four stages where the GC should be decided in the mountains. It's going to be an exciting race.
"The fact that it could go down to the last days is a nice twist, and for the GC riders, that will always be something we have at the back of our minds. It's not over until the very end and the Alpe d'Huez stage will be one of the deciders, along with that brutal one up Mont Ventoux.”
Cavendish is one rider who will not be relishing those mountains tests, but the Manxman was unequivocal in his assessment of the race.
He said: "For the 100th edition of the Tour de France they had to put everything that makes it so historical. It's certainly going to be beautiful.
“The mountains are such a big part of the race so that will make it difficult for me and the other sprinters, but the good side for us is that those hard stages are book-ended by sprint-friendly stages at the start and finish of the race.
"The first stage should be a sprint and I've never had the opportunity to wear the yellow jersey, so it'll be nice to try for that, and then at the end of the Tour there’s a spectacular finish in Paris which has a few changes on the final circuit.
“We'll go all the way around the Arc du Triumphe on the laps, which is a nice way to finish the Tour next year. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Check out the full 2013 Tour de France route HERE