Category: High Mountains
Highest point: 2,115m
If the green jersey competition is looking tight, sprinters equipped with decent climbing skills might be able to earn some extra points by hauling themselves over the two early third category climbs of Côte de Bénéjacq and Côte de Loucrup (56km) for the intermediate sprint in Trébons.
It's the last day in the mountains, with big points in the KoM competition at stake and a last chance for climbers to take a stage win. Once again the mighty HC-ranked Tourmalet, the Tour's most used mountain, looms into view. The peloton tackle the Tourmalet on the slightly easier east-west ascent through Campan and La Mongie before it maxes out at 2,115m beside the Jacques Goddet memorial. Race planners hope the desperate and the courageous among the overall contenders will launch attacks on the 17.4km climb that will set up a battle royal later on. But who will have the energy? The fast, open descent means excellent descending skills won't be as useful today unless it's wet – just power and exceptional pain management.
The finale is the Hautacam, a 13.6km HC climb with some devilishly steep gradients at around kilometres 7 and 9. It was first used in the Tour 20 years ago and has been used four times. It'll be the last chance for the strong climbers such as Vincenzo Nibali and Andy Schleck to grab some minutes and seconds before the TT in two days' time.
Haimar Zubeldia says... "The Tourmalet is very hard and between there and Hautacam is a valley where the team of the leader needs to pull. Many teams will attack on the Tourmalet to put the yellow jersey under stress and reduce his team to make their race harder."
In 1914, Firmin Lambot won the stage over the Tourmalet. For the next four years, racing was on hold because of World War 1. Nevertheless, the Belgian stuck at it and in 1919 won the Tour outright. Then, in 1922, he won the Tour a second time, aged 36, making him the oldest rider to win a grand tour. His record stood for 91 years until 41-year-old Chris Horner took the Vuelta a España in 2013.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Latest on Cyclingnews
Hermans aims for Arctic Race GC glory as he closes out Intermarché contractBelgian set to dial down cyclo-cross schedule and focus on road with Alpecin-Deceuninck
Gomes surges from breakaway to win stage 7 at Volta a PortugalFigueiredo remains at top of GC and McGill leads sprint classification headed into weekend
Manly breaks Vos' streak on stage 4 at Tour of ScandinaviaVos nearly catches escapees to keep race lead
Bahrain Victorious sign young Croatian talent MiholjevicWorldTour team snaps up Giro di Sicily stage winner, Australian sprinter Scott and Austrian Kepplinger