With the Tour de France celebrating its centenary this year, you would expect something different, something exciting. But according to Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tony Martin the price of that extra frisson of excitement could come at the expense of riders. The two-times defending Time Trial World Champion, writing on his website, has described the decision to include a double take on the notorious Alpe d’Huez, which necessitates the use of the previously untested Col de Sarenne, as ‘irresponsible’.
Set to feature on Stage 18, the Col de Sarenne seems to have set alarm bells ringing in the usually unshakable German. He comments: ‘I was excited to ride the new road from Alpe d’Huez (during the Critérium du Dauphiné), the exact same route we’ll see in the Tour, I have to say that I was negatively surprised. The road is old and narrow. It’s a bad road, no guardrails. A mistake could see you falling straight down 30 metres…’
TdF organisers have agreed partial resurfacing of the Col – with short sections set to be partially leveled – but the fact remains that one of the world’s most experienced and fearless riders appears troubled by the road ahead.
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