Another hard day in the Alps, but the scenery will be stunning, although only the gruppetto will be able to appreciate it as it’s another stage of hard graft, particularly for the polka dot jersey contenders.
Thursday 23rd July: Stage 18 – Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, high mountains, 186.5km
The stage starts with a succession of cat 2 and cat 3 climbs until 85km in, when they drop down a steep descent from the Col de la Morte before making their way up to the HC Col du Glandon. While there is some respite with a few downhill sections on this climb, it’s still nearly a 22km climb. The climb starts out at 7.5%, hitting 10% before the first little downhill, but when it goes back uphill, it starts at 11% – the black and red on this profile says a lot. The final kilometre doesn’t give the riders any respite as it’s an 8.7% gradient.
The descent is much like yesterday’s descent – 20km of steep, very narrow and fast. It’ll be an interesting climb and descent, but they’re not done yet. The Lacets de Montvernier (as featured in the Dauphiné) is the final climb of the day, a cat 2 just 10km from the finish.
Link: Official race website
Header image: The shoelaces of the Lacets de Montvernier (via YouTube)