Toughest stage of the Tour ??
Col de la Biche…Grand Colombier…Mont du Chat…..3 of the most feared climbs on tour. Add to that a number of other catergorised climbs this stage is arguably the toughest stage of the whole tour… Not to say that there are other tough days ahead.
Concentraing on the 3 uncategorised climbs … (they are rated 1 to 4 based on their difficulty),
these 3 climbs are rated so difficult they don’t get categorised!!
Col de la Biche was 20km long … not horrendously steep, average 8% but going on for an eternity, the Colombier is a monster 10km long ,rising to a wall of 20% gradient for a full kilometre half way through, that was the steepest part of any climb and at the time had the legs screaming for a rest… no such luck the remaining 5 km averaged out at 8% and to an altitude of 1501m. The views were spectacular and a 10 km descent followed. I struggled on the descent as the front wheel seem to wobble, at the feed station mechanics told me I had buckled the front carbon wheel due to severe breaking. A quick wheel change and I was back on the road.
The weather was a lot better today but the severity of the climbs reduced the number of riders able to complete the stage…a number simply failed to finish and a number were re routes to a shorter route avoiding some of The uncategorised climbs.
From the worst day on a bike to one of the toughest on a bike… 2 incredible stages back to back.