A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 18 of the Tour de France 2016. Stage 18 of the 2016 Tour is from Sallanches to Megève, via Domancy, Combloux, Demi-Quartier, and Les Chozeaux. The stage is a 17km individual time trial, all uphill but for the opening 4km. It will be short but brutal, and could produce significant time gaps amongst the contenders for the yellow jersey. It should suit climbers more than time trialists. Read about Stage 18 of the Tour de France 2016 here.
Read the Stage 18 race report.
Stage 18 of the Tour de France 2016 is 17km from Sallanches to Megève.
|Stage classification||Individual Time Trial|
|Climbs||Côte de Domancy (2.5km at 9.4%)|
This is the official Tour de France stage profile (showing the stage profile with the time-check points):
This is the official Tour de France climb profile (showing the gradients on the stage route):
The official Tour de France website has the timings. The first rider is due to set off at 1045, and reach the finish at Megève at 1117; the last rider (the yellow jersey) sets off at 1659, and reaches the finish at 1731.
You probably don't need to be Blaise Pascal to work out that the approximate time taken for the time trial is expected to be 32 minutes. Blaise Pascal...didn't he ride for La Vie Claire in the late 1980s?
This video shows the route of Stage 18 of the Tour de France 2016. It gives an idea of the terrain and the difficulty of the stage, and there are views of the spectacular Alpine scenery:
Stage 18 starts in Sallanches, a town in the valley of the river Arve (which runs down from Chamonix). The Sallanche river joins the Arve here.
The centre of operations in Sallanches (see practical information from the Mairie de Sallanches) is place Charles Albert - the Village du Tour will be set up here, as well as the start ramp. The riders will take the rue du Mont Blanc/route du Fayet/D1205 out of Sallanches, in the direction of Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc and Chamonix, as far as Domancy. This first 4km section is flat.
This map shows the first part of the route, out of Sallanches, and up the Côte de Domancy:
The route turns off the D1205 at Létraz, going right to Domancy. It heads up the Côte de Domancy, a steep climb (9.4%, according to the Tour de France's climb profile), which goes on for 2.5km.
The Côte de Domancy is associated with Bernard Hinault. During the World Championships road race in Sallanches in 1980, he dropped the Italian rider Gianbattista Baronchelli on the Côte de Domancy, and won the race. This video shows the key moment in the race, on the Côte de Domancy:
The first time-check is at the top of the Côte de Domancy.
At the top of the Côte de Domancy, the riders turn left on the D1212 to Combloux and Demi-Quartier - still climbing, but not so steeply. (The second time-check is at Combloux). At Demi-Quartier, with Megève straight ahead and not far away, there's a slightly cruel twist - they turn left on the route d'Oise/route des Poëx/route du Petit Bois, for another climb, before they come back down to Megève.
This map shows the section of the route from the top of the Côte de Domancy to the turn up to the Côte des Chozeaux:
Les Chozeaux, at the top of the Côte des Chozeaux
The riders take the route du Petit Bois, then branch off on the route de Vers le Nant. This is quite a steep climb through a wood, and out onto open pasture again. They take a sharp right turn onto the route des Chozeaux, and shortly after, they're at the summit (1219m), in the hamlet of Les Chozeaux in the outskirts of Megève. (Singer Michel Sardou had a chalet in Les Chozeaux; some rather nice horses graze in the fields by the road). It's all downhill from here - intially on the route Edmond de Rothschild/D309A.
This map shows the climb of the Côte des Chozeaux and the finish in Megève:
The stage comes into Megève on the route Edmond de Rothschild/D309A, then the riders swing right onto the rue d'Oberstdorf, before finishing at the roundabout where rue d'Oberstdorf meets the D1212. The Tour de France broadcasters and team buses will almost certainly be where there's plenty of space by the Palais des Sports et des Congrès/Piscine/Patinoire.
Geraint Thomas, speaking to Peter Scrivener of the BBC, gave his view on each stage before the Tour began. This is what he said about Stage 18: 'We have been to see this stage, and again, it's a tough time trial, and you need to be careful with your pace and effort. There could be big gaps if you go too hard at the bottom and lose your legs a couple of kilometres from the top.'
Who does he tip for the win? Richie Porte.
Stage 19 of the 2016 Tour de France is a day climbing and descending in the Alps. It goes from Albertville to Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc. The riders go over the Collet de Tamié to Lake Annecy, then they tackle the climbs of the Col de la Forclaz de Montmin (Category 1), the Col de la Forclaz de Queige (Category 2), and the Montée de Bisanne (hors catégorie). The day finishes with a climb up to Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc Le Bettex (Category 1).
It'll be a challenging day in the mountains, and will help decide the GC.
Read about Stage 19, Tour de France 2016.
Sallanches is a town of 16,000 people, in the Haute Savoie département of France, just a few kilometres down the glacial valley of the river Arve from Chamonix. The river Sallanche joins the Arve on the edge of the town. Sallanches is sandwiched between the Aravis mountains to the west (photo above shows La Pointe Percée), and the Mont Blanc range to the east.
The names Sallanches is derived from the Franco-Provencal 'chalanche', and signifies a steep slope prone to avalanches. It belonged to the House of Savoie from 1355 until the French Revolution, and again from 1814 (defeat of Napoleon) until 1860 (when much of Savoie was transferred to France).
Traditionally, Sallanches was a town of precision engineering. It is the home of Dynastar skis, founded in 1963 as a collaboration between the Dynamic and Starflex ski brands. Today, it serves a commercial centre for the neighbouring ski resorts.
Domancy is a village, with 1,904 people living in the commune. It has an attractive church, the Eglise Saint-André de Domancy, dating from 1717, with an older clock tower.
The Côte de Domancy was the scene of one of Bernard Hinault's triumphs. Here, he dropped Baronchelli, and went on to a solo victory in the road race, to become the 1980 World Champion. See the report in this video:
Victor Hugo called Combloux 'the pearl of the Alps'. It was a summer tourist destination from the 1920s, and attracted visitors for winter sports from the 1930s. Today, it has around 12,600 tourist beds. One of the summer attractions is an outdoor swimming pool which only uses aquatic plants and animals to filter and treat the water.
The ski resort is sometimes called 'Combloux 360°', because of the views in all directions to different mountain ranges. It has 100km of pistes, and is one of the cheapest resorts in Europe.
Combloux's C18th church, the Eglise Saint-Nicolas, is classed as a historic monument.
Demi-Quartier was originally a suburb of Megève, but is now a commune in its own right. Its Town Hall is in the Place de l' Eglise in Megève, though. It's unusual that the Town Hall of one commune should be in another commune.
Megève is a fashionable ski resort - perhaps better known for celebrity clients and expensive restaurants than for extreme skiing. It is at an altitude of 1,113m, so not one of the higher resorts.
The name Megève comes from the Celtic Mageva, meaning village in the middle of waters. Before winter sports tourism, it was a peaceful agricultural village. The first tourists came in the C19th - pilgrims who came to visit the Stations of the Cross erected by Reverend Ambroise Martin from 1840, then tourists hoping to profit from the pure air.
The first ski competition took place in 1914. Local farmers created ski tows, and the arrival of the Rothschild family at Mont d'Arbois hastened the development of the town and ski resort. The first téléphérique was built in 1933.
Megève is known as the home town of famous skier Emile Allais, born here in 1912 (and who died in Sallanches in 2012). He learnt to ski when helping Baron Rothschild's Austrian ski instructor, as a porter. He broke a leg in 1933, while doing his military service with the chasseurs alpins, and it was then slightly shorter than the other; when he later broke the other leg, the doctor was able to make it the same length as the first.
He was the first Frenchman to win a medal in downhill skiing, and he won gold in downhill, slalom, and combined at the 1937 World Championships in Chamonix. He invented the 'French skiing method', published with Paul Gignoux at the end of 1937, and taught (in an updated version) at the French ski schools (Ecoles du Ski Francais) throughout ski resorts in France. In December 1937, he became the first French ski instructor, with medal number 1. After the Second World War, he became technical director at ENSA (Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme, which trains instructors). He was still skiing at the age of 100.
Amongst Megève's attractions other than skiing, there's a museum (Musée du Haut Val d' Arly); a replica of the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem, with fifteen oratories and chapels; and plane trips from the altiport at Côte 2000. There are also plenty of high-end shops, like A Allard. Armand Allard was a tailor in Megève from 1926, and Emile Allais asked him to create ski trousers which would be practical for competition. The result was the fuseau - tight fitting trousers, which Allais wore when winning his gold medals in 1937.
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