Mellow Velo

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Stage 12: Briançon to Alpe d’Heuz 165.1Km :*:*:*:*:*

Start Time: 13-05CET.

Briancon – Alpe d’Huez, is a classic for the Tour that with this same identical format. for the 3th time since 1952. It is clearly the queen stage of the race. An exact replica of the 1986 route, with the ascent of the Galibier once again on the programme, followed by the climb of the Col de la Croix de Fer, before tackling the 21 hairpins leading up to the Isère resort. That stage gave us one of the most iconic images in the history of the Tour.

It has been five editions since Le Tour last visited Briançon. The race went to the Col d’Izoard, where Warren Barguil took the spoils with a solo of 8 kilometres on the finish climb.

The last Alpe d’Huez visit happened one year later. In 2018, Steven Kruijswijk almost brought a 70 kilometres solo home. The Dutchman was caught with 3.5 kilometres to go before Geraint Thomas outsprinted an elite group to win his second consecutive stage in the edition that would eventually bring him overall glory.
The stage has the highest vertical gain: 4,750 meters over 66kms of cols and is raced pretty much in an anti clockwise direction, almost closing a complete circle.

The Climbs.

The Col du Lautarat and then the Galibier. The two passes together add up to 23 kilometres of climbing at 5.1%.

The Col de la Croix de Fer is a giant of 29 kilometres long with an average gradient of 5.2%. The statistic is misleading though, as it’s an extremely irregular ascent. The first part features a number of double digit ramps, and downhills as well. The last 6 kilometres of the Croix de Fer are more steady with an average gradient of 7.6%.

Final Kms.

What to expect.

A massive breakaway which, depending on what happened yesterday, the best of may, or may not go all the way.
As the lead group will be made up of strong climbers, the likelihood of a succesful breakaway increases and so, my guess is on someone like Bauke Mollema, Michael Storer, Thibaut Pinot or Michael Woods. (After today's stage, there may be one or two others that could be added to a list of strong climbers.)
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