Departure place Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux hosted the Tour de France in 2012 for a stage to Cap d’Agde, where André Greipel outsprinted Peter Sagan and Thor Hushovd. A bunch sprint seems highly unlikely on today’s route to Mende. There is not much to gain for the GC guys, while the punchy arrival is too tough for fast finishers.
Following a rolling to hilly opening the riders tackle the long and gentle Col de la Croix de Berthel. Amounting to 18 kilometres, the average gradient is merely 3.3%, yet this could be enough to decimate the front group.
The finale is something else. The Col de la Croix Neuve is a 3 kilometres climb at 10.1% with steepest ramps of up 18%. After the top a gentle descent of 1 kilometre leads to an equally gentle uphill section in the last 500 metres.
The French call the punchy ascent Montée Laurent Jalabert since their hero claimed the stage on Bastille Day 1995. The last winner in Mende is Stephen Cummings, who outsmarted Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet in 2015.
Tour de France 2018 stage 14: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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