BIKE COMMENTS BY YVES CORDIER
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The First Part
Leaving the transition area you follow the sea in direction of St Laurent du Var, for 10 completely flat kilometres with usually no wind at that early hour. Arriving at the Napoléon III bridge, you will take the access road to Cap 3000 in the opposite direction to the traffic and head in the direction of St Laurent du Var. Then you bike alongside the Var on a flat road. Winds can be in your face from inland.
You cross St Laurent du Var and La Baronne in direction of the La Manda roundabout. Before the roundabout you see signposts for Gattières village and you will arrive at a traffic light. You will to turn left onto Condamine’s road and prepare yourself to a tough climb. You are going to perform a high percentage climb for 500 metres on a narrow and straight road. Think ahead and get into your your lowest gear ratio at the traffic light. I recommend 42 x 23 for the better athletes and and 39 X 25 should be enough for the rest. Do not let this climb take you by surprise and try to get past this section without getting into the red so you can continue your ascent towards Gattières in good shape.
Turn right onto the Chemin de Provence which goes up easily towards RD 2209 to Gattières. The climb from the top of the Condamine road to Gattières should not be too difficult. At Gattières you will turn left towardsVence, via St Jeannet. This 10km section is a fairly flat road. At Vence, you will continue in direction of Tourettes sur Loup, on a fairly flat road as well. After having crossed the village of Tourettes, you will find the first downhill section of the circuit for 8km, fast and with no difficulty, which will bring you quicklyto Pont du Loup.
There you have finished the first section of the circuit.
This first part is rather fast and won’t exhaust you. The roads are well kept.
The second part of the Bike leg – the hard bit
The second portion, between Pont du Loup and Plateau de Caussols, is the toughest, with a 900m of climb. From Pont du Loup, you will go up through Bar sur Loup and towards Pré du Lac. This 6,5 km rise is not difficult, quite good to bike and on a good surface. From Pré du Lac you head towards Gourdon immediately on your right. 3 km of the ascent is rather difficult and I recommend you to negotiate it with a low gear ratio. Then you have 4 km of quite flat downhill road to recover. Just before arriving at Gourdon you find a steeper section of climb but you will have a splendid landscape to look at! At the roundabout in Gourdon you will turn left, towards Plateau de Caussols, which will conclude this long 21Km climb . These last 6,5km are at an average of 6,5%. For the whole 21 km of climb, the average slope is 4,2%, and does not require an high gear. The climb is quite long and regular. It will be necessary to measure your effort. At the top you reach the Plateau de Caussols where you will feel a slightly cooler temperature.
The next 15 km in direction of Andon are rather fast and very slightly downhill with only two small hills. You do a 5Km out and back section in the direction of St Vallier shortly after Caussols which is fast and slightly downhill followed by a the slightly uphill return section which brings you back to the road which leading you to Andon. At crowwroads of the second “Pont du Loup” you will take two right turns and leave Andon on your left. This is followed by 12 km downhill towards of the village of Gréolières. This downhill is neither dangerous nor steep. You can bike and keep a constand high speed all along this part, and moreover the road surface is excellent. You pass through Gréolières, and you will find a winding descent of 3 km once again with a splendid landscape. You will soon arrive at a small roundabout, where you turn left towards Coursegoules. From here you will have about 7km of constant uphill at about 3,3% average slope. At the D2/D8 crossroads there is another out and back section in the direction of Col de Vence on a completely flat road. You can use this section to assess your position versus your fellow competitors in front of or behind you. Back at the crossroad D2/D8 you turn right towards Coursegoules for a 1 km climb which will take you up to the village.
At Coursegoules, you have finished the second part of the circuit.
At that point you have completed the most difficult part of the bike race.
The third part of the Bike leg – fast to the Promenade
The last section of the course is really fast and almost completely downhill. It will be perfect for you to recover before the marathon. From Coursegoules to Bouyon, you go downhill for a very pleasant 11 km with nevertheless contains two dangerous turns. Always be very cautious. At Bouyon you start a 8 km downhill section in the direction of Le Broc, with a light uphill part of 2 km between the two villages, and some tight turns in the first kilometre of the descent. At Le Broc you keep going in the direction of Carros and then Gattières. At that point you above the Vallée du Var on a slighly downhill but winding road At Gattières, you take a hard left turn on the D2210 towards La Manda for a slightly winding descent. At the end of this descent you take a right for the return towards St Laurent du Var. You have just cycled about 35 km downhill. You will now take the road you were on earlier in the morning but in the opposite direction, fromGattières les Plans to St Laurent du Var. It is a quite flat road, fast and downhill. You go back through St Laurent du Var and Pont Napoléon III, opposite direction to the morning, and return to Nice. The last 10 km along the seaside shouldn’t be too difficult, and it is seldom windy. You can now concentrate on the third race of the competition.