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Tour de France 2022 - Stage 12 preview

Stage 12: Briançon to Alpe d'Huez

Date: July 14, 2022

Distance: 165.1km

Stage timing: 13:05 - 17:55 CEST

Stage type: Mountain

The last Alpine stage surpasses the previous day by having not two, but three HC climbs. Starting in Briançon, the peloton will retrace the stage 11 route by going over the Galibier in reverse, climbing the easier south side before descending the north side and the Télégraphe to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne.

After riding through the valley to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne for 13km, the Col de la Croix de Fer begins. Nominally 29km at 5.2%, it is a very irregular climb: The first four kilometres climb an average of 7.6% before a two-kilometre downhill. The next six kilometres are the hardest, rising 8.8% on average to the Tunnel des Quatre Jarriens followed by four flat or descending kilometres through Les Sallanches. After the ski resort, there are seven kilometres at only 2.9 to 5.4% followed by a five-kilometre stretch where the gradient never falls below 7.1%. The final kilometre is a bit easier at 6.3%.

The descent is almost as long as the climb and also includes two smaller rises, meaning that riders cannot just rest their legs. A 12-kilometre flat section will then take them to the foot of the Alpe d'Huez with its famous 21 hairpins.

L'Alpe d'Huez starts with a bang as the first two kilometres rise at over 10% and never really lets up from there. The steepest part with an 11.5% gradient comes after nine kilometres, just after the village of Huez; only after 11 kilometres does the gradient drop to 5% before rising again on the final kilometre.

This is another stage for the GC contenders, though the long distance from the Croix de Fer to the finishing climb means that they will be reluctant to attack early and save their strength for Alpe d'Huez. This could allow a strong climber who joined the breakaway in the hunt for mountain points to stay out front for a long time and maybe even win the stage – as it is Bastille Day, the French riders will be extra motivated.

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