Over the last few days we have been thinking about how to trim ‘the fat’ from Lawrence’s route. In fact, we have been focusing on how to have him spend more time riding through beautiful challenging stages and less time sitting on a train doing transfers. So the above schedule is a revision of the first we proposed. The changes are significant, but only affect the first 4-5 days. To summarize:
1. We have dropped the three Vuelta stages, so the ‘Three Grand Tours’ is now two. This is unfortunate.
2. In order to reduce train travel the route no longer travels North from Frankfurt, omitting stages in the Netherlands and Belgium.
3. Three additional Tour De France stages have been added, two of which are mountain stages, increasing the overall number of mountain stages from 3 to 5.
4. The overall number of ‘pro-stages’ remains unchanged at 15, not 16 as stated in the first schedule. This was a mistake, as the stage from Bergamo to Milano is actually a night train transfer and TT for the pros. Lawrence planned to ride this stage early in the morning and then watch the TT. Even with the new route changes the overall distance is remaining about the same, perhaps reducing by 50-100km.
5. The tour will now travel through 6 countries, but only 5 by bicycle, two less than the original plan.
When viewing the new schedule, the days in blue are rest, travel or no-ride days. These days should correlate with the rest days that the pro teams will be taking. The stages in red are ones which are not planned in any professional itinerary. These three stages are optional rides for Lawrence as he may prefer to ride short transfers than take the train. The final distance of the entire journey would increase from 2906km’s in 15 pro stages to 3000 or more if all 18 stages are completed.
Finally, this route plan is much more efficient overall, as it allows in a reduction of about 1000km in train travel. This is not only because of the reduction in Northward travel, but also the increased cycling from Northeastern France south toward Italy. Although Lawrence would not have been riding this distance, traveling such long lengths even by train would likely add to fatigue and most certainly increase cost and limit tourist/social/cultural opportunities.