Update: Oct 11. The Tour route was mistakenly posted on the TdF website yesterday, so I suppose all the guessing is over now.
Like he’s done for the past few years, intrepid cycling fanatic and blogger Thomas Vergouwen has started to compile a framework of what next year’s Tour might look like, based on inside sources, hotel bookings and raw rumor. Here’s his site if you’d like an early glimpse at what might or might not happen next July: VeloWire.com
More importantly, for me at least, he’s also got a 2012 Etape du Tour rumor! According to his sources, next year’s Etape (there was no mention of a 2nd one) will be from Albertville to the Alpine ski resort of La Toussuire, possibly including any of the following climbs (plus the mountain finish): Col de la Madeleine, Col de la Croix de Fer and Col du Glandon.
The Etape would be on either July 10th or July 17th, the two rest days in next year’s Tour. This is assuming that there’s only one Etape of course, which might very well not be the case.
The other possible Etape, by the way, is rumoured to be Stage 17, of course a Pyrenean stage (in more than one way!). This stage, 197 km from Pau to Luchon, would cross the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde mountain passes, making it a real nasty (but very classic) day in the saddle.
These guys also have a little rumor mill grinding and they think the Etape will stick with the 2 ‘Acts’ of this year, with one of them being in the Pyrenees.
Velo Peloton has a Google Map with the rumored route, plus a table of each stage WITH their predictions on when and where the two Etapes du Tour will happen (they say one in the Pyrenees and one in the Alps also) – on the rest days before the actual Tour stages.
For those who like surprises, the official announcement of next year’s Tour will be (live online here) October 18th, with the Etape coming soon on its heels, I’d imagine.