Tour de France: Stage 18

Because once isn't enough

Sixty-one years on from the Tour's first encounter with Alpe-d'Huez, the 100th edition of the race returns for the 28th time – or the 29th to be precise, as for the first time ever the riders will climb the Alpe's 21 hairpins twice in a stage. It's all thanks to improvements to the road that climbs from the resort to the Col de la Sarenne. From there it's a sharp drop to the Chambon dam, just a few kilometres along the valley from Bourg d'Oisans, to which the riders will return before making that historic second asent. This is a short stage with barely any flat at all – the kind of day that's now a trademark of Tour director Christian Prudhomme and his routefinder general, Jean-François Pescheux. The final 60-odd kilometres pack a real punch, although they won't be an over-the-top challenge for riders who would usually come to the Alpe via the Croix de Fer/ Glandon or the Galibier. In a race packed with great moments, this will surely be the most memorable – and probably the most important.

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