Leaving Bern, the pack marches south. The first 65 kilometres are rather flat and then a 7.5 kilometres climb at 4.4% takes the riders up the Saanenmöser. It doesn’t take long for the next climb to appear – Col des Mosses. Coming from Château d’Oex it is a 14 kilometres climb at 3.7%, while the third kilometre is steepest at 7.6%.
Following a long drop the riders arrive in the valley of the river Rhône, meaning flat roads for quite a while.
Near Martigny the road goes back up again. To leave the valley Col de la Forclaz is to be conquered – a huge Alp with an average gradient of 7.9% in 13 kilometres. Moreover, before arriving at the foot of the oficial climb the road has been a false flat for around three kilometres. Once atop of the Forclaz the torture is not over as, following a 7 kilometres drop, the final ordeal sets in.
The closing climb takes the riders to the dam of Lac d’Emosson – 10.4 kilometres at 8.4%. The three opening kilometres are easiest at between 5% and 7%, but 4 kilometres up the slopes the gradient goes up to over 9% per kilometre and it hardly gets under it for the rest of the day. The closing section is steepest at 12.3%.
The climb to the artificial lake is new to the Tour de France, but in other stage races it has been a tested pageant. The Tour de Suisse and Tour de l’Avenir visited the lake, while Lieuwe Westra took stage 7 of the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné after a tour de force at the eleventh hour.
Expect the finale of stage 17 in the 2016 Tour de France to detonate the fireworks big time.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses at 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Results/race report 17th stage, 2016 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2016 stage 17: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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