Usually, when Le Tour finishes in Saint-Étienne the town also hosts the stage start on the following day. Three years ago the race travelled on lumpy terrain to Romain Bardet’s birthplace, Brioude, where Daryl Impey outgunned Tiesj Benoot in a two-up sprint.
A race to Mende is on the cards this time – or, to be more precise, to the landing strip of Mende Airport. The riders are to crest the Côte de la Croix Neuve with 1.5 kilometres to go. It’s a 3 kilometres climb at 10.2% with ramps up to 18%. A 1 kilometre drop leads onto a flat 500 metres run-in to the line.
It’s a fitting finale for a race with hardly a flat metre. The riders travel from one climb to the next, five of which are classified. Shortly after the start the Côte de Saint-Juste Malmont is expected to see a lot of action. Is the breakaway going to be established after the 7.7 kilometres climb at 3.9%? We highly doubt it.
And on we go on breakaway battle perfect terrain. Flat, rolling, short drop, short climb – and after 40 kilometres there are new KOM points available on the Côte de Châtaignier. Which is a 2.9 kilometres climb at 7.3%.
An undulating phase and a descent later and the riders move through Le Puy-en-Velay. The route then starts to climb again and continues to do so for 20 kilometres. Far from steep though – mostly hovering between 2 to 3%.
The riders descend onto a new false flat, which gradually gets steeper before passing into the Côte de Grandieu. This is effectually a 6.3 kilometres ascent at 4.1%. No summit though, as the road continues to climb before a short descent leads to the base of the Côte de la Fage. Which is a 4.2 kilometres climb at 6%.
The riders plunge down a 20 kilometres descent and then it’s time for the Côte de la Croix Neuve. The French call the punchy last ascent Montée Laurent Jalabert, since their hero claimed the stage on Bastille Day 1995. Jalabert was succeeded by Marcos Serrano (2005), Joaquim Rodriquez (2010), Stephen Cummings (2015), and Omar Fraile (2018).
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Ride the route yourself? Download GPX stage 14 Tour de France.
Another interesting read: results 14th stage 2022 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2022 stage 14: routes, profiles, more
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