Every year thousands of cyclists get to tackle a full stage of le Tour on closed roads as part of l’Etape du Tour. This year’s route takes in two of the most famous climbs of the Pyrenees: Col du Tourmalet and Hautacam. There are even a couple of category 3 climbs thrown into the run-in to help loosen the legs but the route’s full 3D profile shown below puts these into perspective of the two Hors Category ascents still to come. Best of luck to all those riding this year’s Etape, hopefully these graphics will help build the excitement for what’s in store!
Stage 10 was thought to be the first major GC battleground but only a short glimpse at the current standings is enough to show that a lot of excitement has already happened in this year’s Tour. Many metres of climbing are already in the legs of riders prior to these first “proper” climbs of the race but with the added appeal of Bastille Day and a rest day tomorrow expect nobody to hold back. With the race still young and the main favourites still unsure of each other’s form then I’m sure we’ll see for offensive tactics rather than defensive often seen near the end of the race. Enjoy!
The final 40km of stage 2 of Le Tour is likely to be action packed. The terrain will see to it that attacks will come and the cream of the world’s professional cyclists will emerge at the front to do battle until the finish in Sheffield. The roads here are largely within the Strines region which cyclists from Yorkshire and the Peak District know very well. Many local pros, past and present, have utilised the repeated steep climbs in the area to hone their racing fitness. The Strines Road itself is a notoriously steep stretch of tarmac which begins at the A616 at Midhopestones and terminates at the A57 after 15 rollercoaster kilometres. The Tour riders won’t cover the full length but they will tackle the most severe sections before turning off east towards High Bradfield and further sharp ascents on the approach to Sheffield.
Jenkin Road is the final climb on stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France. Its position on the route, only minutes from finish in Sheffield, is crucial and is likely to influence the final outcome. Jenkin is only short but it is steep enough to be a significant challenge to the riders of Le Tour, especially as it comes after 195 hilly kilometres.
Holme Moss is a bit of a classic around these parts, particularly because it usually requires a fairly long loop and another major climb to get back home again, but also because it is one of the highest roads in the area and at 524m will be the
highest 2nd highest (Buttertubs Pass is 526m!) point visited by the 2014 Tour de France during its stay in England. Never ridiculously steep, the climb puts its efforts into psyching you out by laying out the snaking finale in front of you with the majority of the climb still remaining. The Mont Ventoux’esque transmitter tower that sits at the summit of the climb is so unmistakably apparent it is impossible ignore what’s in store.
The Buttertubs Pass from Hawes in North Yorkshire will be one of the first climbs taken in by the 2014 Tour de France in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. I’m not going to attempt to regale you with tales of my epic ascent of the climb as I can only remember about 25 metres of it (and I don’t think I’ve ever regaled anything very well) so I’ll stick to what I know and provide the cold, hard stats!
Photo: Kreuzschnabel/Wikimedia Commons, License