Stage 11 (Pau to Cauterets/Vallée de Saint Savin): Peril in the Pyrénées!
Today’s stage features one of the most famous climbs ever to grace the Tour de France: the Col du Tourmalet (see above.) It first challenged the peloton back in 1910 and has haunted them 82 times since! This bit of road is the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrénées, and measures out at 2,115 meters. The riders will face this monster quite far into the stage, after already having survived 147 km, including one Cat 4 climb, two Cat 3 climbs, and one Cat 1 climb. They will get a brief respite (in the form of a terrifying descent!) before they recalibrate their bikes for the tough slog to the top of the Category 3 Côte de Cauterets (nearly 900 meters) and the finish line. Phew!
My pick to win the stage today is Alberto Contador. He’s a world-class climber, and he needs to make up some time in the mountain stages if he wants to be on the podium in Paris. And I will stick with Chris Froome as the man in yellow.
Vive le Tour!