The final high mountain stage in the Pyrenees and it’s the hardest stage in the Tour yet. Three meaty peaks before the summit finish at Plateau de Beille. The gruppetto will be cursing the route organisers from the get-go to the finish.
Thursday 16th July: Stage 12 – Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, high mountains, 195km
Pretty evenly distributed through this 195km stage, this will probably give the riders cold comfort. The first climb, the cat 2 Col de Portet d’Aspet, might be short – less than 5km long – but it’s the second steepest climb in the Tour at an average gradient just shy of 10%. Once the long descent has been navigated, it’s on to the long climb of the cat 1 Col de la Core. The average might be 5.7% but the length and the fact that the second half of the climb is in the high 6s with a few 7s thrown in means this’ll be a real sapper.
Next up, after a bit of a valley respite, is Port de Lers. Just shy of 13km, it’s another long climb with gradients that jump around a lot, making it hard to get a rhythm going. And the closer you get to the top, the worse it gets – the last 4km go from 8.1 to 4.4 to 2.1 to 7.9. Another descent into the valley before the final climb of the day. The Plateau de Beille.
This will be a ferocious 15.8km of mountain-sized pain for most of the riders, starting out at 9% for pretty much 5km. The average gradients is 7.9% – that figure no doubt helped by the fact that the final kilometre is a mere 2.5%. Whoever finishes this day first will surely deserve their handshake from Bernard Hinault during the podium presentation.
Link: Official race website
Header image: Plateau de Beille (Image: Presse Sport via letour.com)