A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2018 is 108.5km from Albertville to la Rosière Espace San Bernado. Climbs include the Montée de Bisanne, the Col du Pré, the Cormet de Roselend, and the climb to the finish at la Rosière. Christian Prudhomme describes this as a mid-distance stage, which could lead to high-intensity battles on the climbs.
Read about Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
The climbers and GC contenders lit up the Tour de France today, and Geraint Thomas took the stage win and the yellow jersey. See video highlights of Stage 11:
Read the Hedgehog Stage 11 diary.
|Climbs||Montée de Bisanne (hors catégorie)
Col du Pré (hors catégorie)
Col de Cormet de Roselend (Category 2)
Climb to la Rosière (Category 1)
This is the official map of Stage 11.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 11:
Profile of Stage 11, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Wednesday 18th July 2018.
The publicity caravan sets off from Albertville at 1200, and the peloton at 1400. The projected average speeds are 31, 33, and 35kmh, and depending on which is the most accurate, the riders are expected at the finish in La Rosière between 1710 and 1737.
Mark Cavendish looks forward to the Tour de France for the BBC, and names his 'one to watch' - his prediction for the stage win.
'Another mountain day, and while it's only 108km, about half of that is uphill. It's the first mountain-top finish of this year's Tour, and it's likely to be a grinding out on the final climb, because it's not steep enough to see people absolutely blowing. A group will get whittled down gradually.
It's going to be difficult to stay within the time limit for the sprinters, but hopefully we've got a grupetto that just wants to reach Paris.
Opportunities for sprints are few and far between now, so hopefully the grupetto can collaborate, and we'll just look at surviving this.'
His one to watch? Chris Froome.
Olympic ice rink, Albertville, by Hedgehog Cycling
The stage starts in Albertville, which was also the start of Stage 19 of the 2016 Tour de France. On that occasion, the riders set off from the Stade Olympique d'Albertville; this time, they are starting from the Hôtel de Ville.
The neutralised section is quite short, and the départ réel comes a little way along the D925 route de Beaufort, before it veers away from the Arly river towards Venthon.
La Nuaz, on the Montée de Bisanne, by HedgehogCyling
After the racing starts, the riders pass Venthon heading north east on the D925, alongside a stream (le Doron). They pass Queige.
Queige, by Hedgehog Cycling
While they are still on the flat road by the Doron, there's the day's intermediate sprint, just short of Villard-sur-Doron. (In the Middle Ages, Villard-sur-Doron was home to travelling jewellers, some of whom made a lot of money and built beautiful houses).
Villard-sur-Doron, at the foot of la Montée de Bisanne, by HedgehogCycling
The first categorised climb of the stage, the Montée de Bisanne (hors catégorie), starts from Villard-sur-Doron.
The official Tour de France climb profile for the Montée de Bisanne, © ASO/Tour de France organisers
It's the D123 that goes up the Montée de Bisanne, to the ski resort of Bisanne 1500, in the Beaufortain range. It's unlikely to be as easy as 1,2,3, however, nor indeed A, B, C or do-re-mi. The slope is very steep, although of course the road uses hairpin bends (thirteen of them, by my count). Anyone who suffers from vertigo would be well-advised to avoid looking down over the side of the road, which has no barriers in most places.
Looking down on one of the hairpin bends on the Montée de Bisanne, by HedgehogCycling
Apart from the gradient, the other main hazards are the highly territorial sheepdogs belonging to the farms on the climb. They chase and harry vehicles and, presumably, cyclists. I'd speculate that the owners don't often throw tennis balls for their dogs to fetch: the risk of a ball rolling all the way down to Villard-sur-Doron would be too great, with the dog returning a week on Wednesday. Or maybe they attach strings to their tennis balls.
After the Montée de Bisanne, there's a descent to Beaufort.
Leaving the village of Beaufort, the climbing begins again, this time up to the Col du Pré (hors catégorie; 12.6km at an average 7.7%; 1,748m altitude at the top).
Profile of the Col du Pré & Cormet de Roselend, © ASO/Tour de France
inrng says that the Col du Pré is an example of the 2018 Tour de France using smaller, back road climbs. The route is via Arêches, and it's after that the road narrows and 'the magic begins' (inrng). '...[I]t's the stuff of postcards, with chalets, cows, and a sustained slope...there are 15 hairpins in 7km - only with each bend the view down the valley improves.' Cycling Challenge says, 'At the top, views of the lake and mountains are stunning.'
2.5km after the Col du Pré, the riders reach the Barrage de Roselend - the dam which creates the Lac de Roselend.
After going along the barrage and the lake shore, this route meets the main D925 route up from Beaufort at the Col de Méraillet. On the D925, the riders continue around the end of the lake (several easy, scenic kilometres - Cycling Challenge). Then, the road rises up to the Cormet de Roselend (Category 2; 5.7km at 6.5%; 1,968m at the top). (Cormet is just another word for 'col' in the local Beaufortain patois). This is the Col Collective's video of the climb:
There's then a long descent to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, losing 1,156m height over a distance of 18.5km.
Leaving Bourg-Saint-Maurice, the road tilts up again. This is the climb to the finish at la Rosière (a good way short of the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard). It's Category 1,17.6km at an average 5.8%, and it reaches 1,855m altitude.
Profile of the climb to la Rosière, © ASO/Tour de France
Séez is just after the official start of the climb. Instead of staying on the main D1090, Stage 11 forks right on the D84 to Montvalézan. The hairpins, and the steepest sections, are after Montvalézan.
France 3's video report (below) has an interview with former professional rider Bernard Thévenet. He says there are a lot of changes in gradient, which should favour attacks. He believes Warren Barguil or Nairo Quintana could prosper here.
The finish of the stage is at la Rosière Espace San Bernado.
On Saturday 9th June 2018, Stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné tackled a route almost identical to that of Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2018. Pello Bilbao (Astana) won from a breakaway. The GC contenders finished next, with Geraint Thomas the fastest of them, taking second place on the day, at 21s behind Pello. Dan Martin and Romain Bardet were third and fourth, 2s behind the Welshman, and Adam Yates was fifth a further 3s back. Vincenzo Nibali was 11 minutes 58 seconds down on the stage winner. Here's a video summary of the Dauphiné stage:
The rider who wins on Stage 11 needs to be able to go uphill and downhill fast! That could mean Vincenzo Nibali, Adam Yates, Chris Froome, or Romain Bardet. Perhaps Nairo Quintana will organise his racing in 2018 in a way that suits him better, so that he is in top form when the Tour de France hits the Alps.
Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2018 is 175km from Bourg Saint-Maurice to Alpe-d'Huez.
Read about Stage 12 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Albertville, by HedgehogCycling
Albertville is a town on the river Arly, near its confluence with the river Isère. It is surrounded by mountains - the Bauges to the west, the Beaufortain to the north, and the Chaine de la Lauzière to the south.
Albertville was on the Roman route from Milan to Vienna (which crossed the Alps via the Col du Petit St-Bernard). Because of the confluence of the Arly and the Isère, the Romans called the higher part of the town ad confluentes. (This part of Albertville is called Conflans today). There was a customs post lower down, referred to as ad publicanos.
At the end of the C12th, the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem founded a hospital for travellers and pilgrims down near the river, and the village which developed around it was called l'Hopital.
Saracen Tower, Conflans, by HedgehogCycling
Modern Albertville was formed in 1836 by King Charles Albert of Sardinia (of the House of Savoie). He merged the medieval town of Conflans with the town of l'Hopital.
Albertville's economy is largely industrial, with hydroelectricity and paper mills. Kassbohrer, who make piste bashers, have premises here.
Albertville Olympic ice rink, by HedgehogCycling
Albertville hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics. Many of the events took place in nearby ski resorts, including Le Praz (ski jumping), Val d'Isère (men's giant slalom, Super G, downhill, and combined), Méribel (women's Alpine skiing events), and Les Menuires (men's slalom). The skating took place in Albertville: the ice rink (Halle de Glace Olympique) remains; the speed skating venue (l'anneau de vitesse) has been given over to athletics.
There's a cycle path most of the way from Albertville to Annecy.
Beaufort, or Beaufort-sur-Doron, is a village in the Beaufortain area of Savoie. It's close to the winter and summer resort of Arêches-Beaufort.
Other than tourism, the main occupation is agriculture. The village of Beaufort gives its name to Beaufort cheese (a firm, raw cow's milk cheese similar to gruyère.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice (public domain)
Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a town in the Tarentaise valley, on the river Isère.
It is surrounded by ski resorts, and there's a funicular railway link to Arc 1600, part of Les Arcs. Bourg-Saint-Maurice is also popular in the summer as a base for walking, mountain biking, and road cycling. There's a whitewater canoe and kayak slalom course on the Isère at Bourg, used for training and competitions.
La Rosière is a ski resort in the Savoie département of France. It is the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard which leads to Italy, and it is linked to the Italian resort of la Thuile. The whole ski area including the French and Italian resorts is called the Espace San Bernado.
Towards the top of the ski area is the Redoute Ruinée, a border fort originally built by the French in the 1890s, and which resisted Italian attacks for a time at the start of World War II. It was badly damaged when French forces tried to take it back towards the end of the war.
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