For the day that’s in it, indulge yourself with a couple of hours of torture. As the French celebrate Bastille Day, the Tour takes on Mulhouse/La Planche des Belles Filles and you can catch it live (in Irish) on TG4.
Two years ago, cycling fans discovered the Planche des belles filles. Chris Froome signed his first victory at the Tour de France in the ski resort of the Haute-Saône that has become a popular destination for both cyclists and skiers as 270 metres of a piece of land neighboring a ski slope had been asphalted to host the stage finish. A sign board remembers: alt. 1035m, Tour de France 2012, vainqueur Christopher Froome, Chrono 16’11”. A couple of hours after the event, Tour director Christian Prudhomme went to reconnoitre another grueling climb in the area: the col des Chevrères, now described by race director Thierry Gouvenou as “the Angliru in a forest”.
The sixth and second last climb of stage 10 is 10.5km long, with a maximum gradient at 20% – like the famous climb of the Asturias – and an average of 7% to reach the top at an altitude of 914 metres. The highest peak of the race is the Markstein again at 1202 metres. The idea behind this route is to showcase a massif that is not the Alps or the Pyrenees but is just as likely to be decisive for the overall ranking. It’s Bastille Day and a Frenchman, Tony Gallopin, is in the yellow jersey. Another one, Thibaut Pinot, is in a great shape for racing on home soil. All ingredients are there for a popular success and a great fight between Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Co.
Background via the official www.letour.com site.