Straight from the start in Digne-les-Bains riders climb an uncategorized hill and then it’s of to Col des Leques and Col de Toutes Aures, both 3st category. Following the drop the mega-long lays waiting Col de la Colle Saint-Michel. Technically the climb goes up for 18 kilometres (at 4.2%), but as far as the road book is concerned Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel is 11 kilometres at 5.2%, making it a 2nd category climb.
The next challenge is the Col d’Allos, a 1st category climb peaking at 2,250 metres. Officially the climb is 14 kilometres with an average gradient of 5.5%. The eleventh kilometre is steepest – 8.5%.
After cresting Col d’Allos the next climb is up to Pra Loup. The ski-resort in the Alps is an old acquaintance. It was in the year of 1975 when Bernard Thévenet bested the old master Eddy Merckx at Pra-Loup, virtually marking the end of Merckx’ impressive career. As far as statistics are concerned it is not really a killer, going up by a 6.5% grade for 6.2 kilometres. But then again, how often do numbers tell you the whole story?
Recently, Critérium du Dauphiné raced on exactly the same route with Romain Bardet winning, Van Garderen second and Froome third, while Nibali was dropped on the closing climb: race results/race report.
Race results/stage report stage 17, Tour de France 2015.
Tour de France 2015 stage 17: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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