Stage 19 Tour de France 2017. Embrun to Salon de Provence

Stage 19 of the Tour de France 2017, which is 222.5km from Embrun to Salon-de-Provence is the longest stage of the race. There are three Category 3 climbs in it, but it’s classified flat, and should see a win for a member of a breakaway, or a sprinter.

Stage 19 Tour de France 2017: Facts, figures, and map

Stage 19 of the Tour de France 2017 starts in Embrun, and makes its way through lumpy terrain out of the Hautes-Alpes and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence towards Provence – specifically the Vaucluse and the Bouches-du-Rhône. This day seems to be partly about getting the race closer to Marseille for the Stage 20 time trial. It’s also The Law that there must be one day for the photographers to take pictures of the riders going through fields of lavender; the high, dry plateaus of Stage 19 are perfect for lavender.

Stage 19 Tour de France 2017: the route

Stage 19, Tour de France 2017: the start

The stage starts in Embrun. On the neutralized section, it heads out of town east on the D994, to cross the river Durance at Pont-Neuf. The route then curves round on the D340/D40, to come back to the Durance where it meets the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. The flag goes down and the racing starts in a suburb called Petit Liou, near the D40/N94 junction. Stage 19 then repeats a small portion of Stage 18, by taking the N94 along the lake to Savines-le-Lac.

Stage 19 Tour de France 2017: Embrun to Sisteron

Stage 19 crosses over the Lac de Serre-Ponçon from Savines-le-Lac. The road edges along the far shore for a short way, passing close to the Chapelle Saint-Michel.

Saint-Michel chapel, Lac de Serre-Ponçon – saved from flooding when the lake was created because it was built on a little hill, it is now on an island in the lake. Photo by Flaurentine, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

At the village of Chorges – an historic place, which was a civitas in the Roman period – the riders turn left on the D3 and head up to the Col Lebraut (1,110m). This is the first categorized climb of the day – Category 3. There are 4.7km of climbing at an average of 6%.

There’s a descent to a belvedere or viewpoint near the Barrage de Serre-Ponçon, where the Durance runs out of the lake. The race continues alongside the Durance on the D3 to Espinasses, takes the D900B for a short distance, then crosses the river on the pont de Rochebrune/D951. Now there is another Category 3 climb, the Côte de Bréziers, which is 2.3km at an average of 5.8%, up to 842m. After a short downhill, the road climbs again via Gigors to the Col de Sarraut (980m).
The race now stays on the D951. Between the Col de Sarraut and Sisteron, there’s a height loss of 501m over a distance of about 35km. The road runs by the river Sasse, and passes via Faucon-du-Caire, le Caire, la Motte-du-Caire, Nibles, and Plan-de-la-Baume, before reaching Sisteron.

Stage 19 Tour de France 2017: Sisteron to the Col du Pointu

From Sisteron (479m), Stage 19 is on the D951, with the Montagne de Lure to the right. Sheep graze here, and there’s lavender and olives. Bories – dry stone-built shelters, roughly in an igloo or beehive shape – dot the landscape.
The route goes through Peipin, Châteauneuf-Val-Saint-Donat, Mallefougasse, Cruis, and Saint-Etienne-les Orgues (712m), to Banon. The intermediate sprint is at Banon.
Beyond Banon, Stage 19 takes the D51 broadly downhill to Simiane-la-Rotonde, on the plateau des Monts de Vaucluse. (The name ‘rotonde’ comes from the dodecagonal building which is part of the C12th château at Simiane).
Around Gignac and Rustrel, the landscape is known as ‘le Colorado Provençal’, since a drunk, short-sighted person noticed the striking resemblance to Colorado in America. The race continues to descend to Apt.
From Apt, the riders head towards the Montagne du Lubéron, and specifically the Col du Pointu (499m). This is the third and final Category 3 climb of the day, 5.8km of climbing at an average of 4.1%.

Stage 19 Tour de France 2017: Col du Pointu to the finish at Salon-de-Provence

From le Pointu, there’s a descent through the Combe de Lourmarin to the village of Lourmarin, where the race route veers right to Puyvert and Lauris. At Lauris, the riders join the D973, which runs west alongside the Durance. It could be windy here.
Just after Mérindol, there’s a left turn, which takes Stage 19 over the Durance near Mallemort; it then follows the D23/D17 by the Canal EDF as far as Lamanon. Here, still by the canal, the riders join the D538, which goes south to the finish at Salon-de-Provence.

Steady Eddy finally ready to win on Stage 19

After two near misses, many cycling fans will be delighted that Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) finally got a first place on the 2017 Tour.Bravo!

Photo by Marco Meyer on Unsplash