FanPost

Tour de l'Ain Starts Tomorrow

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A quick reminder that the 5 Day Tour de l'Ain starts tomorrow.

The Tour de l'Ain began as an amateur race in 1989. First opened to pros in 1993, it is now a UCI class 2.1 race. David Moncoutié won in 2011. Other former winners include Bobby Julich, Axel Merckx, Cyril Dessel, Jerome Pineau, John Gadret, Linus Gerdemann, Rein Taaramae, and Haimar Zubeldia:

A star-studded field with a distinctively French feel: Pinot, Rolland, Moncoutié, Coppel, Bardet, Fedrigo, Casar, Gadret, B. Feillu, etc.

More info and links after the jump:

L'Ain (named after the river that runs through it) is the French department just north/west of Geneva. Part of the Rhone-Alpes region, it also borders the Rhone river, across from the department of Haute Savoie. The French part of the Jura mountains are primarily in l'Ain - plenty of beautiful, steep, virtually traffic-free cycling climbs.

What do you need to know?

Dates: Aug 7 to Aug 11th

STAGES:

Day 1: Flat

Day 2: Flat stage in morning; Time Trial in afternoon.

Day 3: Mid mountain stage

Day 4: Mid-mountain uphill finish on the Lacets (hairpins) de Septmoncel. Basically the same road where Chavanel won a Tour de France stage a couple of years ago (for marketing reasons the finish then was called Les Rousses).

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Day 5: Another bumpy mid-mountain stage. Long, long uphill finish ... but rarely steep.

Thoughts: Bah, for the last several years the Jura giant Le Grand Colombier has been featured as a mountain top finish on the last stage. However, after the Dauphiné and TdF used this climb for the first times in 2012, the Tour de l'Ain has dropped this route, and there is no climb in the entire race that remotely approaches this challenge.

Still, this is an interesting little race, in a beautiful region, with lots of local support.

Separately, one of the coolest features of this popular local race is the organization of an amateur cyclopsortive that rides the same route as the pros on the same day for every stage. Info here

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