Tour de France 2018: Stage 17 preview

Bagnères-de-Luchon - Saint-Lary-Soulan, 65km

It's a pity that Alberto Contador isn't racing anymore. He would have loved a mountain stage designed purely for attackers. He lost the 100km stage 13 to Foix to Warren Barguil last year but fired up the race the way fans love to watch cycling.

It's been 30 years since such a short stage wasn't put on the map: 38km from Tarbes to Pau, but it was a morning half-stage won by Adrie Van der Poel (10 years after Bernard Hinault put the peloton on strike to protest against the split stages on the same day).

Racing just 65km in the mountains is unprecedented. So is the Formula 1-like start organised on a grid according to the overall ranking. Pre-race operations will offer a new kind of spectacle, including the necessary warm-up session because it's the col de Peyresourde to start with! It's not the hardest climb, but it can make a difference from the gun, especially if some domestiques can't make it back to the front of the bunch on time.

Moreover, the final ascent is a gruelling one. The col du Portet has been asphalted just a few weeks before the Tour. It's the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, the highest peak of the whole race (at 2,215m of altitude, 100 meters taller than the Tourmalet), just as hard as the Mont Ventoux!

2018 Tour de France stage 17 map 

2018 Tour de France profile for stage 17

 

 

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