Sum­mit fin­ishes

Cycling Weekly - - Tour De France 2018 -

LA ROSIERE Stage 11: Al­bertville > La Rosière Height: 1,855m; Length: 17.6km; Av­er­age gra­di­ent: 5.8% A new fin­ish for the Tour but not for its or­gan­is­ers. The 2015 edi­tion of the Tour de l’avenir fea­tured a sim­i­lar stage cross­ing the Pré and Rose­lend passes be­fore con­clud­ing on the long climb up to the La Rosière, al­though it fin­ished at a lower point. Com­ing at the end what is sure to be an ex­plo­sive stage of just 108km with three big climbs be­fore­hand, the Rosière could pro­duce the first sig­nif­i­cant gaps among the favourites. A power climb at the start and fin­ish, the tough­est ramps are in La Rosière’s mid-part, and it’s here the se­lec­tion is likely to be made.

L’ALPE D’HUEZ Stage 12: Bourg Saint Mau­rice > L’alpe d’huez Height: 1,838m; Length: 13.8km; Av­er­age gra­di­ent: 8.1% Ru­mours of a dou­ble as­cent of the Alpe proved un­founded, but this stage is no less in­tim­i­dat­ing be­cause of that. The riders will as­cend to 2,000 me­tres on the Madeleine and Croix de Fer passes, be­fore tack­ling the Tour’s most cel­e­brated as­cent. With more than 5,000 me­tres of ver­ti­cal gain, de­fend­ing Tour cham­pion Chris Froome has picked this out as the key moun­tain stage. In the­ory, its fre­quent changes of gra­di­ent should suit the Bri­tish rider, as should its ap­pear­ance in the sec­ond week, when his climbing has tended to be bet­ter than in the fi­nal few days.

COL DE PORTET Stage 17: Bag­nères de Lu­chon > Saint Lary Soulan (Col de Portet) Height: 2,215m; Length: 16km; Av­er­age gra­di­ent: 8.7% Af­ter the steady, but long as­cent to Peyragudes, then a much more abrupt climb to Val Louron, this su­per-short stage con­cludes with the Tour’s high­est-ever fin­ish in the French Pyre­nees. In to­tal, there’s 40km of as­cent in just 65km. Al­though not fully sur­faced yet, the Portet will re­ceive a makeover be­fore the Tour ar­rives. Prud­homme has dubbed it “Gal­i­bier mark II” — its gra­di­ent rarely drops be­low eight per cent per cent and is often above 10. This stage could change the look of Grand Tour rac­ing.

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