“The story is written on monuments and there are plenty of monuments to make it a good 100th edition”.
Pierre Rolland can be forgiven his hyperbole when he spoke to L’Equipe at the launch of the Tour de France this week. After all, as the last man to win at Alpe D’Huez, he was understandably excited at a route that includes two ascents of the mythical alp. “I imagine the world will be there” he said.
The parcours for the 2013 Tour is every inch the classic that the 100th edition deserves. It is includes some of the most iconic climbs that have played host to epic battles of years past. In a sport that is not confined to stadiums or arenas, the mountains themselves frame the backdrop to one of the world’s greatest races and they provide a truly grand stage.
The Europcar team have been animators of the race for the past two seasons and look like they will be able to do the same this year too. Both of their key riders, Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler will riding in their colours again. Between them they have amassed four stage wins, stints in the yellow and white jerseys and an epic victory in the mountains classification in just the last two seasons alone.
While we can be confident that Thomas will light up the race in some way, perhaps more hope rests on the shoulders of Pierre Rolland who’s improvement over the years makes him an outside favourite for the General Classification. We can be sure that he will focus on it as he told L’Equipe this week, “It is full of summit finishes. It inspires me a lot.”