The Tour de France organisers have come up with an original concept for Stage 17 of this year’s race. Not only is it really short — 65 kilometres — but it promises to be a climbing spectacle: 38 of those kilometres are uphill. The start is also unusual. All-in-all, it’s a stage worth keeping an eye on!
War from the gun
On July 25th, the starting gun won’t just signal the beginning of another stage in the Tour, but the beginning of a battle promising to create fireworks all the way to the finish line. The first 20 general classification (GC) riders will start on a grid, similar to Formula One racers, diagonally behind one another. The remainder of the peloton will be positioned in groups of 40 riders spread up to 700-metres behind the wearer of the yellow jersey.
Because the riders start climbing immediately, this means that the leaders won’t have their helpers at their side — unless they too are in the top 20. As the stage also covers just 65 kilometres, including three major ascents, it will guarantee excitement galore.
The riders pass over the Montée du Peyragudes, the Col de Val Louron-Azet, and then end on the Col du Portet. You may recognise the first climb as the descent on which Chris Froome launched his legendary “super tuck” downhill attack in 2016. From the summit of the Col de Val Louron-Azet, the second climb, one can see the whole of the rest of the stage in a bird’s eye view. Although we doubt many of the riders will stop to enjoy it…
In this sumptuous video, endurance cyclist Mike Cotty gives us an autumn recon. of the stage. The route includes what some are calling the hardest climb the Tour has ever done, on account of some serious uphill gravel sections.