Tour de France 2014 – The Stats

TDF 2014 - Veloviewer Actvity WheelForgive me minions, for I have slacked…

After celebrating my (54th) birthday yesterday, I realized that it has been 18 days since I last wrote a post.

Which means that my own “Tour de France 2014” ended nearly three weeks ago.

The hardship of getting back into my daily routine was eased a bit by teasing Wayne on Facebook, with a daily picture of some mountain I climbed.

Paula did a great job shooting pictures and it’s not difficult to find a jaw-dropping scenery – I could keep on driving Wayne to tears for a couple of months.

But the real Tour de France started the week after we got back and the first 10 days of that have been hectic and a pleasure to watch – most of the time anyway.

With Chris and Alberto out of the competition, the tour has not been boring and every time Sagan fails to take a stage, I’m getting more happy.

We even had a Dutch – ka-BOOM! – stage winner and that had been a long time ago too.

Hopefully the next stages will bring more spectacle – tomorrow they will climb the Izoard, which is the only pass the official Tour has in common with my own, albeit that I climbed it from the other side…

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Tour de France 2014 – Epilogue

Epilogue (Col de Larche)

Since it was scrapped from the list for the brevet and it looked like an easy climb, the Col de Larche was used as a recovery ride.

Officially, cyclists are not allowed between La Condamine and Meyronnes, but – as confirmed by the tourist office – this ban is basically neglected by everyone.

While the length of 23 kilometers from Jausiers may look impressive, the first 6 kilometers are near flat, up to the split with the Vars.

But even the remaining 17 kilometers offer no more than 675 meters of elevation (4%) and only in the final 5, from Larche, the grade is a consistent 5%…

An excellent recovery ride, although the road was quite a bit busier with traffic than I would have liked and I arrived at the summit well within the hour.

But, I had seen both sides of this col when transferring back and forth to the Fauniera and I wanted to cycle the Italian section with the hairpins too.

Besides, the col is named Maddalena coming from the other end and that makes it even more irresistible 🙂

So, I descended the 6+ kilometers to Argentera from where I returned back to the summit, after which we had a coffee break at the ‘Ristorante del Lago’.

Paula then bought some cheese and other stuff from a local farmer holding shop at the summit and after a fast descend to Jausiers, my Tour de France 2014 was officially over.

Trip: 62.8 kilometers / 1,072 meters elevation gain (Garmin).

Tour de France 2014 - Epilogue: Col de Larche

Tour de France 2014 – Stage 11

Angnel and Izoard

Despite the fatigue, I wanted to go up – at least – the Agnel.

With 2,744 meters, this one is ranked third in Europe as far as paved, true passes go.

I.e. it’s not a dead end and it has no artificial loop around the top to make it higher, like the Bonette – only the Iseran (check) and the Stelvio (check) are higher passes…

As I did not really feel the need to cycle the Vars again, we transferred to Guillestre by car.

I could have started my ride there, but I saved myself the time and didn’t do so before Château-Queyras.

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 10

The beautiful Fauniera

Stage 10 involved a side trip to Italy: after a car transfer over the Larche to get to the start of the Colle Fauniera, I got on my bike in Demonte.

Why this col is more aptly referred to as “Colle dei Morti”, I found out very quickly.

With a length of nearly 25 kilometers and an elevation gain of some 1,700 meters, the average is a healthy 7%.

The start is irregular, with frequent ups and downs, where the “ups” are basically close to and over 10% – there is no easing into this one…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 9

Cayolle and Allos

I descended towards Barcelonnette – on my bike this time – in the morning to tackle the Cayolle.

Some two kilometers out of Barcelonnette, you get to the junction of the Cayolle and the Col d’Allos. The latter is also the entry to the climb up to the ski station of Pra-Loup.

Upon leaving Uvernet-Fours, you enter the more spectacular part of this climb, the Gorges du Bachelard. The road has been carved out of the rocks and is spectacular, albeit narrow.

This means any wide vehicle or vehicles higher than 3 meters, will get stuck 🙂 So no trucks, no campers and in fact, there’s not much traffic at all.

After you pass through Chapelle Saint-Blasse, the road widens a bit.

At Bayasse, a short series of hairpins leads up to the second part of the climb.

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