While the UCI WorldTour is about to start with the Tour Down Under, the European cycling season and more precisely the French one is already in the starting blocks ... On Sunday 29 January 2012 the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise 2012 will take place and this will as usual be the first race of the season in France and even in Europe.
In this article you'll find all information about this race with the detailed race route on Google Maps/Google Earth, the time and route schedule, the profile and the list of teams which participate in the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise.
The race which one doesn't want to win
This race has a bad name, at least in the French peloton. I already hear you wondering why since it's a nice race anyway?! Yes, indeed, it's a beautiful race but people say of it that when you win this race, this will bring you bad luck for the rest of the season. Jérémy Roy had a very nice season in 2011, especially with the big number of breakaways which allowed him to receive the title of most combative rider of the Tour de France 2011, but after having won the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise, it's true that he didn't win any other races.
The manager of his team FDJ BigMat, Marc Madiot, said at the occasion of the team presentation that in this race, one should be competitive, one should almost win it, but one shouldn't win it and continued by telling a story about Philippe Gilbert who almost won the race but finally didn't manage to do so because of a police officer who sent him the wrong way ...
If the choice was only up to Jérémy Roy, currently in the Tour Down Under, he would again win the Marseillaise this year ... but will he be at the start one week after the end of the Australian race?!
The race route of the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise 2012 on Google Maps
The start of the race will be exactly the same as before with a fictive start at 12.30 in front of the Conseil Général des Bouches-du-Rhône (13) in Marseille and the real start 9 kilometers further in Allauch (Logis Neuf; around 12.50). As usual, the riders will go north in the backside of Marseille up to the north of Châteauneuf-le-Rouge via Gréasque and Fuveau.
They'll than ride in parallel to the A8 highway until Rousset where they'll redescend to Les Michels before they return to Fuveau. From there, they'll continue there trip southwards to Belcodène before going back north to Peynier and Trets.
Via the Pas de la Couelle, also nicknamed the Petit Galibier (GPM 1; average climb of 4.3% over 7.3 km with a maximum of 7%), they'll get in the Var department and the city of Saint-Zacharie. That's where the race route will differ from last year's because instead of turning right towards Auriol, the race route will continue left towards Nans-les-Pins.
In Plan-d'Aups-Sainte Baume they'll get back on the usual race route and climb the Col de l'Espigoulier (GPM 2). With its 723 meters of altitude this is the highest accessible climb of the Bouches-du-Rhône. Via Gémenos they'll get on the heights of Julhan les Bastides (GPM 3).
Via Roquefort-la-Bédoule and Cassis, they'll get back to Marseille where the finish will be somewhere between 4.30PM and 4.40PM, in front of the Stade Velodrome, after 148.1 kilometers of racing.
Hereunder you'll find the time and route schedule, the race route on Google Maps and the profile of the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise 2012. Click on each of the images to open them.
Concerning the nationalities, these teams come for 59% from France (10 teams), 24% from Belgium (4 teams), 12% from The Netherlands (2 teams) and 6% from the Unites States (one team). by Thomas Vergouwen
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