We went to Corsica immediately after the Tour of Belgium to check out the first three stages of the Tour de France. We were there with mechanics, masseurs, and two riders: Gert Steegmans and Tony Martin.
We had mostly good weather except for rain on a mountain the second day, so that was important to properly check the course without problems.
We started with checking the parcour of the third stage. We saw the parcour and the final. It's a nervous final — very spectacular, with a climb at about 12 to 13km from the finish. The climb is an important climb, not a small one. That climb is Col de Marsolino at the 132km point. It's 3.3km at 8%, so it is not a banal climb. The final will be difficult.
Then we did also the first and the second stages. The first stage we focused on the final. The first part of the parcour, we will have to do reconnaissance when we're there for the actual race, because we had no time to do it this time. The final is not so bad with big roads. It will probably be a bunch sprint and also the longest of the three stages we will do in Corsica (212km).
We also checked the parcour of the second stage. It is the hardest, with four climbs in 154 kilometers. The middle of the parcour we have three of the climbs, one after the other. They're not so steep, but in any case they will be important. The descent is one where you have to push, because it is not technical. Then, more or less 12 kilometers from the finish, there is the Cote du Salario. The top of the climb is at km 142.2. Sure, the climb is only 1 km, but there is a 9% average gradient. This will be difficult to pass with the high level of the competition. It will be a fight there for sure. It was important to come to Corsica and check the parcour. We did some videos and recorded some info. We even had some pigs on course!
Tony and Gert had the possibility to check parcour on the bike, so for sure they will give some important feedback to the team during the upcoming races before Le Tour. Overall, it was a good experience. Now, we want to keep going on training and preparing everything.
We're already in Tour de France mode. So, this is the first step! From now we will work on our preparation to be truly ready for the race.