Tour de France 2014: Stage 10 – 6 cols to La Planche des Belles Filles, 20% finale

Tour de France 2014 La Plance des Belles Filles Many will remember the stage La Planche des Belles Filles from the 2012 Tour. Not only because Froome won but mostly because he obviously out-powered his leader Wiggins. Froome was kept on a leash and 'Wiggo' won in Paris. Today riders face 6 cols to finish atop the feared La Planche des Belles Filles. (Slideshow route/profile)

The first col goes by the appropriate name of Col du Firstplan. It’s an ideal spot for riders with a plan to breakaway to take their chances since the opening kilometres are fairly easy. The final 4.5 kilometres are trickier with the road going up at a 7% gradient.

Petit Ballon

Petit Ballon is the Grand Ballon’s little brother. The climb is lot steeper than the Firstplan and exactly 1 kilometre longer and despite it’s name this is fact the longest ascent of the day.

As early as Munster the road goes up a bit, but officially the climbing starts a few kilometres later. The stats: 9.3 kilometres long, average gradient of 8.1%. The early section is the steepest (9%), but overall it’s a fairly regular climb. The easiest bit is near the top, where it flattens out.

Col du Platzerwasel

The third ascent, Col du Platzerwasel, is crested at 1,192 metres, making it the highest peak of the day. It’s 7.1 kilometres to the top, so the climb is shorter than the previous one, but at the same time somewhat steeper at 8.4%.

Col d’Oderen

Following a long descent, riders reach the bottom of Col d’Oderen. The top itself is at just under 900 metres. ‘Easy’ compared to prior cols, as it’s shorter (6.7 kilometres) and less steep (6.1 %).

Apart from that Col d’Oderen is in the more ‘comfortable’ section in the stage. Upon cresting it’s 37 kilometres to the next categorized climb. In between you have the Col des Croix, a mere speedbump compared to other climbs today.

Col des Chevrères

Col des Chevrères is the penultimate climb and along with La Planche des Belles Filles it makes quite a diptych. The climb itself may be short (3.5 kilometres), but it’s the steepest climb of the day with an average of 9.5%, containing sectors of almost 15%.

Riders who are dropped have 11 kilometres to close the gap before the final ascent

La Planche des Belles Filles

Some years ago, Tour-organization ASO advised the locals to tarmac the road to the ski-slopes of La Planche Belles Filles and since they did, the climb has become another symbol of the Tour de France. The climb itself is 5.9 kilometres long and extremely treacherous. The average gradient of the first 500 metres is almost 9%, followed by a short flat section, and then the grade kicks up to 20% in the finale! That spot is exactly where Froome attacked in 2012, with Wiggins close behind for a Sky stage win and yellow jersey.

Tour de France 2014 stage 10: Images and more!

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