Tour de France 2017

Tour de France logo smallIn September this year, I will pay another visit to the French Alps for my very own Tour de France 2017.

Other than during my previous Tour in 2014, when we switched locations four times, I have picked a single location for our base camp this year: Briançon.

Like Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Jausiers in 2014, the city of Briançon is strategically located at the base of several mountain passes…

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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

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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