The shortest stage in last year’s Tour went to Foix and was a sensational ride. The race offered fireworks from start to finish before Warren Barguil outsprinted Nairo Quintana, Albert Contador and Mikel Landa on the line.
The 17th stage of the 2018 Tour de France begins in Bagnères-de-Luchon and the first peak is crested at kilometre 15. The climb up the Montée de Peyragudes is 14.9 kilometres, so it’s all systems go once the flag is dropped. To pep up the start riders are lined up as in a Formula 1 race. The starting grid features the top 20 in the first group (yellow jersey obviously on the first line). The rest of the field starts in four groups behind them, depending on the rider’s position on GC. So, as the route goes uphill straight away, top 20 riders can put pressure on their rivals and fly up the climb. Some GC-riders will want to wait for their domestics, other perhaps will not. See also the video below with an explanation about the start.
The Montée de Peyragudes consists of two climbs, the Peyresourde and the actual Peyragudes. The Col de Peyresourde is 13.7 kilometres at 6.9%. Last year it was the run-in to the finale at Peyragudes Altiport. On the steep arrival Romain Bardet bested his rivals, while Mikel Landa left his then leader Chris Froome behind.
Unlike last year, the riders turn left after the Peyresourde to move past the altiport and crest the Peyragudes after another 1.2 kilometre of climbing. The full 14.9 kilometres of the climb are averaging before the route drops down to Loudenvielle.
The second climb is the Col de Val Louron-Azet, which is a 7.4 kilometres toil at 8.3%. The KOM points are up for grabs where Claudio Chiappucci took a stage victory back in 1991. This time, the riders have 38 kilometres left to race.
Following the descent to Saint-Lary-Soulan the riders face one more challenge, which is the extremely demanding closing climb to the summit of the Col du Portet. The 16 kilometres ascent is averaging 8.7%, while the second, third ánd last kilometre are the steepest sectors, all with double digits gradients. Only one moment of respite for the tired legs when the climb flattens out to a false flat after 7 kilometres. Yet, this section is only 400 metres…
The first three riders on the line win time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds. The intermediate sprint (at kilometre 27.5) does not come with a time bonus, it’s a sprint for green jersey points.
Tour de France 2018 stage 17: Route maps, height profiles, and more
Click on the images to zoom
Video with explanation about the start
Climb details Montée de Peyrgdues
Climb details Col de Val Louron-Azet
Climb details Col du Portet
3D bird’s eye route
Bagnères-de-Luchon and Col du Portet at Google maps