Tour preview: Stage 13

We’re in the Alps for the weekend stages, starting with this jaggedy stage with a summit finish on Chamrousse.

Friday, 18th July: Stage 13 – Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse, high mountains, 197.5km

This is an interesting parcours and could catch a few riders by surprise. It starts right away with a cat 3 climb over the Col de la Croix de Montvieux, followed by a fairly innocuous middle section as, like so many other stages in this year’s Tour, the organisers have loaded the difficulty into the last third of the stage.

TdF 2014 St 13 profile

The Col de Palaquit, a cat 1 climb, has not featured in the Tour before so this 14km worth of climbing will be new to the peloton. The climb starts with a little spur that has 10%-plus ramps, a short downhill, then 9km of constantly changing gradients. Although the average gradient is 6.1%, it jumps around a lot – from as little as 3% to nearly 12% as the riders work their way to the top. This might very well be the more decisive climb of the stage.

TdF 2014 St 13 climb 1

After the descent, it’s right onto the HC climb up to Chamrousse. This 18km climb, like the one before it, changes its mind on the gradients almost every kilometre, although not quite as drastically. That said, the riders are still getting some tempo-slowing ramps, particularly in the first half (3.3% to 9.5% to 11.4% in one section). It’ll certainly set the scene for an Alpine weekend of distinction, as well as igniting the King of the Mountains competition.

Joaquim Rodriguez currently leads the climbers’ competition with 51 points. However, there are 62 points available today. Chamrousse alone, as an HC summit finish, offers a whopping 50 points. For GC riders who have slipped down the overall order, the temptation of decking themselves out in all-over polka dots may tempt some to force their way into the day’s break in the hope of the race leaders being too busy watching each other.

TdF 2014 St 13 final climb

Link: Official website

Header image: Chamrousse

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