In 2010, Sandy Casar won the stage to Saint Jean de Maurienne. At the time, it was the first time the village was included in La Grande Boucle. This is contrast to Gap. For today’s departure town the Tour is almost a habit.
In stage 18 the Glandon is on the menu, but that’s not all, since the climbing party opens with the 2nd category Col Bayard and via a trio 3rd category climbs the pack closes in on a mountain with the little merry-provoking name Col de la Morte. However, the 2nd category is not as merciless as it may sound – 3.1 kilometres at 8.4%.
Col du Glandon
With 125.3 kilometres done the riders touch base at the foot of the piece de resistance. And a piece the resistance it is, taking them in no less than 21.7 kilometres to the top of the Glandon at an elevation of 1,924 metres. The average gradient is 5.1% but that’s basically only (a minor) part of the story since this climb is extremely irregular. Varying between streches downhill and even two kilometers with an average grade of over 10%, the Glandon surely is not an easy climb to find a rhythm.
Upon cresting the suffering seems to be over, but no, it isn’t. In 20 kilometres the riders descend to Pontamafrey-Pascal, at an elevation of 493 metres. Still 15 kilometres to go to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, located at 552 metres. Piece of cake and just a matter of hard racing? No. A vicious col is in between.
Les Lacets the Montvernier is 3.4 kilometres climb at 8,2%. Interesting to say the least, since in that short amount of time the riders are risking dizziness when dropping too quick. Les Lacets the Montvernier is something of a rollercoaster with eightteen (18!) hairpins. The first 1.5 kilometre rise at 8%, the next 1.5 kilometre at 9% and then it flattens out.
Once atop, a downhill and a few flat last few kilometres welcomes the riders. Beautiful finale!
Race results/stage report stage 18, Tour de France 2015.
Tour de France 2015 stage 18: Route maps, height profiles, and more
Click on the images to zoom