While Thursday’s stage, with ascent from start to end, seems set for one of those crazy days of racing, where anything can happen at any given moment, Wednesday has a very clear focal point: it’s 21.5 kilometers long And rises 2,304 meters above sea level.
Even the venerable Curl de la Madeleine, overtaking the halfway point, does little to twist the gaze. This is partly due to its position at the very end of the figures and stage, but also due to its novelty; Col de la Loze is not only new to the Tour, but to the world.
It is a traffic-free roundabout of a high-mountain pass, built last year to connect Maribel and Courchevel. Previously, it was possible to ride and drive only to a height of a few kilometers from two ski resorts, but local authorities have completed an ambitious project to pave a seven-kilometer bike path on either side of the mountain top. .
Around four meters wide, with gradients that sometimes touch 24 percent, it always, quite understandably, is the most highly anticipated point of this year’s tour.
This is in contrast to something found in the Alps – an area with Alps-inspiring peaks, but with a regular setting of about six or seven percent, with the default setting of roads built as access to ski resorts. Exactly the same is the first 11 kilometers, from Brides-les-Bains in the valley at 1,415 meters to the center of Maribel. Four more kilometers take you to a height, but suddenly the path to Loz starts and everything changes.
There are hairpins, and long straight sections, but at the top are muddy ramps that jute almost vertically. It goes beyond the more irregular gradients found in the Pyrenees, and the race director Christian Prudhomme spoke of “a series of walls”. He even dropped the name of Mur-Day – the ultra-steep climb used at the end of Flesh Wallone.
“You go around a hairpin, and you’re coming to a ‘wall’, but you’re on a false flat – it’s a constant change of rhythm,” Prudhomi said. “It’s going to be an incredible closing ceremony because we haven’t slowly developed that kind of breaking-up. It doesn’t exist – or it didn’t until now.”
As such, the comparison of Maribel’s previous visits is somewhat meaningless – not that there are many. It was hosted only when Finish was finished in 1973, when Bernard Thévenet won a split stage at Altyport, although he went to the Critérium du Dupine resort in 2016, when Thibut Pinot got the better of Romain Berdette.
However, there is a precedent for Col de la Loze, as it was first trialled on the Under-23 Pelton at last year’s Tour de l’Avenir. Remarkably, there was the climbing platform – a massive crowd of 23 km from Bride-les-Bains to the summit, about 1,691 meters above. Alexander Evans of Australia won the day as Tobias Foss, finishing fifth in 42 seconds, taking a yellow jersey from future DeSkink-Quickstep rider Maurya Vensivent.
That stage was filmed in part, and the footage shows how some have fallen prey to flaws. Vansivent, considered one of the most talented talents, was reduced to slamming on the road in a desperate bid to lower the shield.
One of the key factors that makes Col de la Loze all the more appealing are the words ‘Souvenir Henry Discrange’ which you can see right below it on the stage profile. This means that it is the highest place in this year’s Tour de France, with the award for the first rider to reach it – in this case the stage winner.
Unlike the 2019 Tour, which was billed as one of the ‘highest’ in history, the 2020 edition, despite the proliferation of climbing, doesn’t really take off at great heights. The lot is made up of a 2,000-meter barrier, and this will be the first and only time we break it.
The Col de la Madeleine is listed at 2,000 meters, but is said to actually be a slightly less glamorous 1,993 m. Still, at a distance of 2,375 meters, the loz, takes us to the ‘extreme’; It is the seventh highest mountain pass in the whole of France.
In theory, this would give a natural advantage to the so-called ‘natives of altitude’. Even though Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana are away, fellow Colombians Rigoberto Oraon and Miguel लngel López – born at 1,800 meters and 2,800 meters respectively – sit third and fourth overall, while the two Slovenian at the top of the standings, Primo Rosalie and. Tadej Pogačar, both were born less than 500 meters away. However, the proliferation of altitude training in modern cycling has somewhat leveled the playground.
Nevertheless, oxygen debt effectively hides nowhere; The strongest will move upward and any weaknesses will be exposed.
Rogical vs Pogacher?
Following the dramatic captulation of Egan Bernal at the Grand Chemarsier on Sunday, the 2020 Tour de France appears to be something of a two-horse race, despite five other riders still under two minutes. It’s not for Uran, Lopez, Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Mikel Landa – or even Enrique Maas to do a disservice at 3:15 – but frivolous debutant Tadze Pogkar in 40 seconds, the only rider so far Is who has been able to do any damage to the yellow jersey which has been so far Primož Roglič.
Even if Pogker’s attacking instinct is being nurtured, Col de la Loze’s seriousness means that he and others are likely to save their bullets for it, rather than Col de la Lleine’s Trying to do anything about it. At a distance of 62 km from the line, and a long descent into the valley, as well as after 15 km, it would take someone to put their race on the line to go from there. Most of the top 10, and Pogačar is not really required to do.
Instead, after 45.5 km followed by a big fight for both Brekwe and the intermediate sprint, we can expect Jumbo-Wisma to set the tempo on Madeleine. The route is difficult in two ways, from the south – last used in 2013 – meaning an average gradient of 8.4 percent over 17.9 km. It may not be the main flashpoint but it is still one Horse-grade A climbing animal, and it will not be a pelton that goes from above, but as a ‘yellow jersey group’. They will then descend to the northern shore of Madeleine which is often connected to Alle D’Huez before 15 km of the false flat in the valley.
The final climb begins in a fairly straightforward fashion, with a regular alpine climb of 15 km. According to what we have seen so far, jumbo -isma is likely to impose its own rhythm, and the rest will satisfy them to do so. As soon as the bike starts, all bets are closed.
It is certain that Jumbo-Wisma will not be able to ride that part like the Grand Camisier, given the simple physical fact that slipstreaming counts for nothing on the gradient like the next. Tom Dumoulin was commanding the Grand Chemacier, but it is much less than his locality, and they will certainly be used under the ascent, leaving Rosalie Sepp Kuss with Rosalie as the last man. In the present form, you could see him going up there.
Up to that point it is hard to see any other contenders being teammates with him, and this is likely to be the case for each person himself, each clutching his paws in a way that fits in the line. . As such, the pacing would be all-important, as Clement Champocin, who attacked it like a maniac in the Tour de l’Avenier, revealed. When you go red on those shields, at that height, you can pay cheaply.
In a tour that was relatively tight so far, the Calls de la Lawz are widely expected to do very little damage in a short period of time. Pogačar is flying and should flourish on this terrain, while Roglič is looking completely ineffective by this point. It is a fascinating competition.
Beyond those two, Uran faces a major test of his podium credentials after a sensible but reassuring debut that brings back memories of 2017, while Lopez looks just sharp behind him. Yates came here for the stage win, but is now an all-in for GC, while Landa hasn’t done much wrong other than miss. On stage 7. All are more or less out-of-the-way climbers who like frequent rhythm changes. Grinding the ascension. However, a true podium contender could emerge in Porte, currently in sixth place at 2:13. He was able to go after Roglič and Pogačar on the steep finish at Pew Marie, and split the group into four with an acceleration on top of the Grand Camdier.
Still, as Prudhume pointed out, it’s hard to predict how it will play, given that we didn’t really have anything like it in the Tour. Anything can happen, and whatever happens, it is sure to be fantastic.