A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2018. is 175.5km from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d'Huez. Climbs along the way include Col de la Madeleine, the Lacets de Montvernier, and Col de la Croix de Fer. This should be a mountain classic to round off the Tour's stay in the Alps for another year. Read about Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
It was a day when a bold Kruijswijk attack from long distance narrowly failed. Geraint Thomas battled his way through the chaos on the way up Alpe d'Huez, together with Froome, Dumoulin, Bardet, Landa, Nibali, and Roglic. The Welshman won the sprint from the elite group. Watch video highlights of Stage 12:
Read the Hedgehog Stage 12 diary.
|Climbs||Col de la Madeleine (hors catégorie)
Lacets de Montvernier (Category 2)
Col de la Croix de Fer (hors catégorie)
Alpe d'Huez (hors catégorie)
This is the official map of Stage 12.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 12:
Profile of Stage 12, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Thursday 19th July 2018.
The publicity caravan sets off from Bourg-Saint-Maurice at 1010, and the peloton at 1210. The projected average speeds are30, 32, and 34kmh, and depending on which is the most accurate, the riders will arrive at the finish line at Alpe d'Huez between 1734 and 1816.
Alpe d'Huez features in Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding's Mountain High. As they say, 'The Tourmalet, Galibier, and Izoard used to be the race's three mythical climbs, but these passes have been surpassed in notoriety by Alpe d'Huez. It's become the summit of the modern era...no other stage has such presence. With its 21 bends, steep ramps and massive crowds, it has become the Hollywood climb.'
Mark Cavendish looks forward to the Tour de France for the BBC, and names his 'one to watch' - his prediction for the stage win.
'For me, this is the hardest stage of this year's Tour de France, with 5,000m of altitude gain. It's going to be savage. The Col de la Madeleine takes two hours to climb. It goes up, there's a flat bit in the middle, and then it just seems to go on forever. You start this knowing you've got two further HC climbs to come - it's very daunting.
What makes it difficult for the grupetto is we normally make some time back on descents and flat bits, but there's no flat and they are not the type of descents where we can make a lot of time back easily, so we're going to be fighting all day. This is the hardest stage to make the time limit, but it's always a quality finish on Alpe d'Huez, and hopefully we can get a boost from the fans.
It will be a fight between the climbers for sure - everybody wants to win on Alpe d'Huez, and it would be nice to see a French winner.'
His one to watch? Romain Bardet.
The stage starts in Bourg-Saint-Maurice (départ fictif) on rue Capitaine Desserteaux. If I was taking part in the race, I would be tempted to be Captain Desert-o at this point, and abandon - especially as the first business on the right of the street is a pastry shop. It's possible that the time limit will come into play by the end of the day, and one or two competitors won't have any choice about being Captain D.
The riders head down the Tarentaise valley (the valley of the river Isère) to the départ réel at Bellentre; the route continues following the Isère to Moûtiers.
From Moûtiers, Stage 12 still shadows the river Isère, going through Aigueblanche and la Léchère. It's on the D97 until the turn-off to Bonneval (D213). Now, the riders begin the first categorised climb of the day, the Col de la Madeleine. It's 25.3km at an average 6.2%, with some of the steepest sections coming near the top. The summit is at 2,000m. In the winter, the slopes here form part of the Valmorel ski area.
Profile of Col de la Madeleine, © ASO/Tour de France
Over the top of the Col de la Madeleine, there's a 20km descent via the ski resort of Saint-François-Longchamp (linked to Valmorel) to la Chambre in the Maurienne valley.
From la Chambre, Stage 12 goes a short way south up the Maurienne valley, alongside the river Arc, until the junction with the D77B. Here, the next climb - of the Lacets de Montvernier - begins.
Profile of the climb of the Lacets de Montvernier, © ASO/Tour de France
It's nowhere near as high as the Col de la Madeleine, peaking at just 782m, but the Lacets de Montvernier are popular with the Tour de France organisers because of the spectacle of the peloton crawling up the tight hairpin bends, or laces, of the climb.
According to Maurienne Tourisme, it took 6 years of works, between 1928 and 1934, to build this road from the Maurienne valley to the village of Montvernier. It is one of the most spectacular roads in the Savoie département. The last time the Tour de France came this way was in 2015, on Stage 18.
The riders go back down to the Maurienne valley via Hermillon, and continue by the river to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. This is the location of the intermediate sprint on Stage 12, and the line is part-way along the straight rue de la Libération.
Leaving Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, the race climbs the Col de la Croix de Fer via the ski resort of Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves.
Climb profile, Col de la Croix de Fer, © ASO/Tour de France
There are three steep ramps - the first from Saint-Jean to Pierrepin-Dessous, the second (after a short descent) to Charvin and a tunnel at 1,275m, then the final steep section after Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves to the summit at 2,067m. This is an hors catégorie climb.
The iron cross at the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer, by Florian Pépellin, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0
From the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer, there follows a long (29km) descent to Allemont. The riders pass the Lac de Grand Maison, which marks the border between Savoie and the Isère. This lake is the upper reservoir in a pumped storage hydro-electric scheme, and is formed by a dam of a stream called l'Eau d'Olle.
The descent continues to the lower reservoir at Allemont, the Lac du Verney. The riders go round the east side of the lake, crossing the Viaduc de l'Eau d'Olle
From Allemont, the peloton takes the flat valley road (D526/D1091) to Bourg-d'Oisans. Then all that remains is the famous climb via 21 hairpin bends to Alpe-d'Huez. This HC climb is 13.8km at an average 8.1%, with the finish line at an altitude of 1,850m.
Profile of the climb of Alpe-d-Huez, © ASO/Tour de France
Cycling Weekly have made a good video of the climb to Alpe d'Huez:
The favourites for the stage win include Chris Froome. The other top climbers hoping to take the stage win are likely to include Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, and possibly Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa. Maybe Adam Yates will be in form, and able to lead the way up Alpe-d'Huez.
Stage 13 of the Tour de France 2018 is 169km from Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence.
Read about Stage 13 of the 2018 Tour de France.
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.
Moûtiers is a modest-sized town at a bend in the river Isère, roughly half-way between Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Albertville. It serves as a hub for the ski resorts of the 3 Vallées (Courchevel, Méribel, and Les Menuires/Val Thorens).
The settlement here was called Darantasia in the Gallo-Roman period. The name Moûtiers comes from 'monastery'.
There's a small historic centre near the Cathedral Saint-Pierre.
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne is a town at the confluence of the Arvan with the Arc. It's named after John the Baptist, and reputedly had relics of John - three fingers brought back from Egypt in the C6th.
The main industries in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne are aluminium production and tourism. Among the visitors it attracts are cyclists who use it as a base to tackle the Alpine cols nearby.
Alpe-d'Huez is a ski resort in the Isère département of France.
It was developed from the 1920s, and the first button lift (made by Jean Pomagalski and his Poma lift company) was installed in 1936. Alpe-d'Huez hosted the bobsleigh events of the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics.
The Alpe-d'Huez climb is from Bourg-d'Oisans in the Romanche valley, on the D211. There are 21 hairpin bends, it's 13.8km, and the summit is at 1,850m. It was first included in the Tour de France in 1952.
There are often chaotic scenes as thousands of spectators line the route up to Alpe-d'Huez, and it is especially popular with Dutch cycling fans.
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