This refrain has always been spoken by the organizers of the Tour de France. Today, they reaffirmed their commitment to making a plain vanilla Tour de France course when they announced the 2007 route. At first glance, there seems to be little creativity.
The route starts with the traditional 8km prologue. The interesting part here is the backdrop being on the other side of the channel near Londion’s Trafalgar Square. Another traditional full week for the sprinters until the first sort-out coming on stage seven with a 197km ride into mountains with the final climb being the Col de la Colombiere (16 km at a 6.7%). Look for crashes, frequent switching of the yellow jersey, and other standard first week happenings.
Overall, nothing unique with 2 individual time trials (54km, 55km) and 6 mountain stages, three being mountain top finishes. I guess with no patron like Armstrong or Indurain, there was no need to try to make the course patron proof.
I do agree that the riders make the race. Virtually all of the 198 starters base their season and training programs on this race. The Tour de France attracts the top riders who are on top form. What always disappoints me is why not give them a course that matches the field. Why make the riders make the race.
Last year, I believe it was procycling who attempted to create a course that would be exciting in and of itself. Take a look at the Giro course. This is a course with great creativity. The Giro usually guarantees an exciting race. Can you imagine a Giro-influenced course with the talent of LeTour? All I can say is wow.
In the end, it seems that Christian Prudhomme is content in being a forgettable tour boss.