With the professional cycling season coming to an end for another year, fans of the sport are already looking ahead to 2012, when new teams, riders jumping ship to different squads, and a full schedule of races should keep things interesting. With that in mind, Outside magazine has a couple of interesting articles for us to think about.
First up, we get a nice first look at the just announced routes for both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. Both races will offer very different course from this year, which will have an impact on the peloton and just who has a legitimate chance of winning the race. The Giro, for instance, has done away with some of the long post-stage transfers that have bothered racers in the past, and now a more logical and liner route for the most part. The race will start out flat, but in the later stages it shifts into some very tough mountain stages, which will no doubt favor the climbers in the General Classification.
In contrast, the Tour will favor riders with outstanding time trial experience, offering three times as much TT action in 2012 then it did in 2011. That’s not good news for the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank, who have been in contention the past few years, but have not been able to keep pace in the individual time trials in particular. There will still be plenty of climbing of course, including some never before seen routes, but there is one fewer mountaintop finish this time out, and the course seems to favor the more skilled all around riders, like this year’s winner Cadel Evans or three-time champ Alberto Contador.
Speaking of Contador, Outside also scored an interesting interview with the Spaniard, which you can read by clicking here. Contador is still awaiting a hearing over a pending drug suspension for a positive test of the banned substance clenbuterol in last year’s Tour de France. In the interview, which is quite short, he touches upon how he got started in the sport, what he does to relax in the off season, and how it felt to finish off the podium in this year’s Tour.
As of now, Contador’s drug hearing is scheduled for November 22.