A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2018 is 65km from Bagnères-de-Luchon to the Col de Portet. Christian Prudhomme says it's the shortest non-TT stage for more than 30 years, and should lead to a race which is 'dynamite'. The climbs are the Col de Peyresourdes/Montée de Peyragudes, the Col de Val Louron-Azet, and the Col de Portet. Read about Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
Nairo Quintana took the stage win ahead of Dan Martin. Geraint Thomas was the strongest of the GC contenders. See the video highlights of Stage 17:
Read the Hedgehog Stage 17 diary.
|Climbs||Col de Peyresourde/Montée de Peyragudes (Category 1)
Col de Val Louron-Azet (Category 1)
Col de Portet (hors catégorie)
This is the official map of Stage 17.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 17:
Profile of Stage 17, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Wednesday 25th July 2018.
The publicity caravan sets off from Bagnères-de-Luchon at 1255, and the peloton at 1515. The estimated average speeds are 26, 28, and 30kmh, and depending on which is the most accurate, the riders should arrive at the finish line between 1723 and 1744.
The Col de Peyresourde is one of the climbs featured in Mountain High.
This is a video of Mike Cotty's recon of Stage 17 for the Col Collective:
Mark Cavendish looks forward to the Tour de France for the BBC, and names his 'one to watch' - his prediction for the stage win.
'A 65km road stage in the Tour de France is something that is unheard of, and they are trying a novel idea with gridding the riders at the beginning, because we start directly up the Col de Peyresourde.
I don't think the gridding of the riders will have any effect on the race, but we start with the Peyresourde from Bagnères-de-Luchon many times, and it's a gruelling climb. It's horrible. And horrible to start your day off with. It will be full gas from start to finish, no matter who you are. Some guys go faster than others. I think you have to know what you can sustain for those climbs, and every single rider in the peloton will be looking at their power meters.'
His one to watch? Chris Froome.
Stage 17 starts in Bagnères-de-Luchon, a Pyrenean spa resort which is a regular on the Tour de France.
Het Nieuwsblad says that the start will be like a Formula One race, or cyclo-cross. The innovative start has been introduced because the organisers expect fireworks from the start of what is a very short stage.
There's to be space at the start for every team to warm up on rollers, so that no neutralised section is needed. Then comes the special start-line arrangement. The yellow jersey will be front and centre, with the second-placed rider a few metres to his left, and the third-placed rider a few metres to his right - and so on, with the top ten riders on the front row of the grid.
On the next row will be numbers 11 to 20 in the GC. Numbers 21 to 40 will be in a pen behind the first twenty riders, and after that there'll be forty riders per pen.
The first climb is the Peyresourde/Peyragudes. 'Whoever wants to sprint to the foot of the Col de Peyresourde can do so. Whichever leader prefers to wait for his team mates can do that too - at his own risk,' says the man responsible for the route, Thierry Gouvenou.
The climbing starts almost straight away, as the riders head for the Col de Peyresourde. The altitude at the top of the Col is 1,569m. Here, the route leaves the Haute-Garonne département, and enters the Hautes-Pyrénées.
The Col de Peyresourde has featured in the Tour many times since Octave Lapize was first to the top in 1910. In 2014, Vasil Kiryienka led over the summit. In 2016 (Stage 8), the riders tackled the Peyresourde from the other side (the west), then there was a descent to the finish at Bagnères-de-Luchon, where Chris Froome's crazy descending style won him much admiration and the stage.
Straight after the Col de Peyresourde, and counting as part of the same categorised climb, comes the bonus of the Montée de Peyragudes - the steep ramp of the altiport which was the finish of Stage 12 of the 2017 Tour. Chris Froome struggled as Romain Bardet won the stage, and Fabio Aru took the yellow jersey. That's no doubt part of the reason why this climb is on the itinerary again, but will it cause problems for Froome second time around?
Start of the Montée de Peyragudes, by Anthospace, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0
The Col de Peyresourde/Montée de Peyragudes is Category 1, 14.9km at 6.7%, and reaching 1,645m.
Profile of Montée de Peyragudes, © ASO/Tour de France
After the Montée de Peyragudes comes the descent to the Lac de Génos-Loudenvielle and to the village of Loudenvielle (which has thermal sulphur waters at Balnéa). (The suffix -vielle in the names of villages here comes from the Latin villa, meaning a farm or rural dwelling). Loudenvielle is the location of the day's intermediate sprint, although it's doubtful it will be won by a sprinter.
From Loudenvielle, the riders go to Génos, on the west side of the lake, then begin the climb of the Col de Val Louron-Azet.
Profile of the climb of Col de Val Louron Azet, © ASO/Tour de France
From Génos, it's 7.4km, rising 616m at an average 8.3%, reaching an altitude of 1,580m at the top.
The route then descends to the village of Saint-Lary-Soulan. Saint-Lary-Soulan - meaning the sunny place of St Hilary - is a spa and ski resort. The ski area is to the west of Saint-Lary, as far as the lac de l'Oule, at Pla-d'Adet. West is the direction the race now takes, for the climb to the finish.
According to the race organisers, the final climb is new to the Tour de France, with 16km at more than 8%, reaching an altitude of 2,215m. They say the Col de Portet has the characteristics of a new Tourmalet.
Profile of Col du Portet, © ASO/Tour de France
The winner of the final climb and the stage will also take a €5,000 prize, the Souvenir Henri Desgrange. It is named in honour of the sports journalist who created the Tour de France, and who was the first race director. It is given to the first rider to reach the top of the Col du Galibier if it's on the route, or if not, the first rider to the top of the highest climb of the race. In 2018, there's no Galibier, and the highest climb is this one.
Because of the unusual nature of the stage, it's difficult to predict who will win. When the Tour tackled the Montée de Peyragudes last time, Romain Bardet prospered, and this stage may well be designed with him in mind. It's easy to imagine AG2R planning an all-out attack from the start. On the other hand, you'd expect Froome and Sky to be well-prepared.
Vincenzo Nibali might have done well, especially as he didn't race the Giro d'Italia, but he is out of the Tour after being brought down by a spectator's camera strap on Alpe d'Huez.
Maybe this stage will suit another rider who stayed away from Italy, Dan Martin.
Stage 18 of the Tour de France 2018 is 172km from Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau.
Read about Stage 18 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Bagnères-de-Luchon is sometimes called 'the Queen of the Pyrenees'. It's a spa resort, and has a ski resort, Superbagnères.
When Pompey was in the area in 76BC, one of his soldiers who was suffering with a skin complaint came and bathed in the thermal waters here, and after 21 days, he was right as rain. In 25BC, the Romans built three baths, which were called balneum lixonense post Neapolitense primum (the best baths after those of Naples).
The baths were relaunched at the end of the 1700s, attracting European royalty and aristocracy. The arrival of the railway in 1873, and the opening of a casino in 1880, increased the popularity of Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Bagnères-de-Luchon has the priviledge of being twinned with Harrogate, North Yorkshire (UK).
© 2017-18 SpeedyHedgehog
Template design by Andreas Viklund