Mulhouse hosts the departure of the Tour de France’s 6th stage. The last time that La Grande Boucle arrived in Mulhouse was in 2014. Tony Martin was on the attack during the whole day and in the last 50 kilometres he soloed to the win. The next stage started in Mulhouse to finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles.
Peaking at an elevation of 1,148 metres, the climb in the Vosges Mountains has established a reputation as a puncher’s finish in a short time. In 2012 La Planche des Belle Filles debuted in the Tour de France and now, after eight editions, it is already the fourth time that the climb is included. In 2017, Fabio Aru soloed to victory (16 seconds ahead of Daniel Martin and 20 seconds ahead of Chris Froome), in 2014 Vincenzo Nibali took the win in similar style (with Thibaut Pinot 15 seconds in arrears and Alejandro Valverde another 5 seconds further behind), while Chris Froome outclimbed Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins by 2 seconds in 2012.
In all three editions La Planche des Belles Filles was a climb of 5.9 kilometres with an average gradient of 8.5%. The 2019 race will feature an extra section of 1 kilometre and to pep things up this section is unpaved, except for the last 100 metres. Beginning with a leg-sapping ramp at 24%, the final kick up is too steep for gravel. The ‘new’ Planche des Belles Filles amounts to 7 kilometres at 8.7%.
The stage also includes Le Markstein (10.8 kilometres at 5.4%), Grand Ballon (1.3 kilometres at 9%), Col du Hundsruck (5.3 kilometres at 6.9%), Ballon d’Alsace (11 kilometer à 5,8%) and Col des Croix (3.3 kilometres at 6.1%), making it a testing day in the Vosges Mountains. Moreover, GC riders are tempted to open up the finale on the Chevrères, a punchy 3.5 kilometres climb at 9.5%, as the first three riders over the summit earn time bonuses of 8, 5 and 3 seconds.
The Chevrères is crested with 19 kilometres. The descent leads to a false flat of 4 kilometres, which runs to the foot of the final haul up.
Time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds are awarded to the first three riders on the line. Plus, as mentioned, there are extra seconds available at the Chevrères.
Another interesting read: results/race report 6th stage 2019 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2019 stage 6: route, profiles, more
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