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Mellow Velo

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  Stage 17 Grenoble - Méribel Col de la Loze 170 km

Only a great champion will be able to win at the Col de la Loze! The stage profile invites the favorites of the Tour to be audacious. They don’t yet know the road that will take them on that day to the Col de la Madeleine and have no idea of what to expect once in the resort of Méribel. They’ll still have an extra 7 irregular kilometers to climb with several passages at over 20%. – Christian Prudhomme



The 17th stage of the Tour de France is flat..................If you look past two massive climbs. The riders tackle the Col de la Madeleine and Col de la Loze in the last 65 kilometres. Which is, combined, almost 40 kilometres of uphill torture. The riders set off from Grenoble to pedal through the valley of the Isère en then the Arc River to Notre-Dame-du-Cruet.



This is where the Col de la Madeleine kicks in hard with 4 kilometres at 10%. Thereafter the inclination levels out a bit, but it never becomes easy. Far from it. The Madeleine is 17.1 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 8.4%.





The riders descend back to the valley of the Isère to tackle the Col de la Loze in Brides-les-Bains.
The final haul up begins in ski station Méribel. Until June the pass was not suited to carry the yellow caravan. The road was accessible until the airport at approximately 1,800 metres, but six newly paved kilometres allow the Tour de France to include the Col de la Loze all the way to the top at 2,304 metres.
De Col de la Loze is an ascent of 21.5 kilometres long. The slope mostly hovers around 7%, but kilometre 18 and 19 stand out with 11% gradients, plus this section features sections at over 20%. The last 2.5 kilometres before the finish are equally explosive with an average gradient of almost 10%.





With these giant ascents in the last part of the race a GC battle for the stage win is on the cards. Most breakaway specialists find this kind of terrain simply too hard. Expect Jumbo to control the race until the very select group pass under the Flamme Rouge. The rider with the best kick wins.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    Mellow Velo

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    The weather at the foot of the Madeleine at La Chambre.
    July would struggle to better it. Thursday also showing in that screenshot.
    I cannot remember a sunnier Tour. Especially when we remember the weather in the Alps, last year.

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    some words about Col de la Loze, from Pierre-Yves Chatelon, French U23 coach:

    Quote
    (gt) "It makes you think of a Mario Kart circuit"

    Head coach of the French U21 team, which inaugurated the climb up the Loze with the Tour de l'Avenir in 2019, Pierre-Yves Chatelon explains the specifics of a pass like no other.



    How is the Col de la Loze, blown by Bernard Hinault at ASO after the Tour de l'Avenir 2019, different from the others?

    In fact, up to Méribel, it is a fairly traditional climb. After that, it's when you veer towards the altiport, when you leave the main road, that things really change. The last seven kilometers are asphalted on a three-meter-wide ribbon, which is exclusively dedicated to cycling. It’s something quite original, which you don’t really know on a bike, in terms of profile and orientation. It makes you think a little bit of Mario Kart circuits in video.

    We therefore do not find the regularity of the slopes of the necks cut in the rock to facilitate vehicle traffic ...

    It was more or less a maintenance track for the ski lifts, it really hugs the terrain. There are no excessively digging things, it offers banked turns, broken slopes. It's very, very irregular, there are very big percentages in very short games, walls of 20-30 meters, 50 meters maximum, then it switches back.

    What can this change in racing strategy?

    The difference with the Tour de l'Avenir is that it happens at the end of a stage with other passes, like the Madeleine. And the advantage I see there is that the steamroller teams are not going to be able to set a tempo in that. Normally, it will be at loggerheads between the leaders, if they do the race. A team's steamroller will have a hard time expressing himself.

    What kind of runners can this kind of finish benefit from?

    This is more to the advantage of punchers, in my opinion, than pure climbers. For example, the instructions that I had given to my riders on the Tour de l'Avenir, is that those who had a little "giclette", to give it at the exit of each "raidard", instead of to land as is often done, which allows the guys who are in difficulty in the steep parts, in favor of the less steep parts, to come back to the tempo. Runners who are able to recover from the steepness can make a difference. These are short intensities. It is more reminiscent of certain Giro or Vuelta passes. After that, it remains extremely difficult, we must not think that Wout van Aert or runners like that can win. An electric battery like Julian Alaphilippe, if he's on his feet, why not. In any case, it's really original.

    https://pressreader.com/article/281934545369391
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

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    https://twitter.com/INEOSGrenadiers/status/1306110875154165760

    not that it's likely to make much of a difference for the race anymore, but still, a bit sad to see him not making it to Paris
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    The weather at the foot of the Madeleine at La Chambre.
    July would struggle to better it. Thursday also showing in that screenshot.
    I cannot remember a sunnier Tour. Especially when we remember the weather in the Alps, last year.

    according to the official forecast handed out by ASO, there seems to be some risk of thunderstorms later on though. Meteo France has also published a "code yellow" weather warning for that area
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  • Mellow Velo

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    10-20% when I looked at Meteo France yesterday evening.






    Just re-checked and although they have a risk T/storms they have no rain, which is odd.
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  • Servais Knavendish

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    Whilst Alejandro must get a post race award for his covert opps attack on the GC; almost the non-combativity award par excellence; I have been wondering for a while why Dan Martin is taking a leisurely ride around France to coincide with the tour???  Yes he is wearing team kit, but a race high top 11 finish must be a disappointment; even in the the team that has done the least to light up this fab tour (sorry L-B)
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  • Leadbelly

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    I have been wondering for a while why Dan Martin is taking a leisurely ride around France to coincide with the tour???

    Let's not forget he did crash at the Dauphine and fractured his sacrum(?). The team thought it was a risk worth bringing him along anyway and seeing how he recovered during the race. Not amazingly as it has turned out and he just said in an interview on Eurosport that yesterday he just had no legs after the rest day.

    At the time of writing this he is in the break today though. :cool
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