Pavé, pebbles, and hardly any chances for runners

RSNplusTourist route, part 2: stages 4-9

Written by Daniel Brickoyd


Roadmap of the 109th Tour de France | Photo: ASO/Tour de France

05.07.2022 | (rsn) – After the stages in Denmark and the first day of rest, the 109th Tour de France A week full of obstacles: the tour route takes riders through northern France and Vosges, along Lake Geneva to the edge of the Alps. With the recent ascent to La Planche des Belles Filles, the first mountain end is near. Those who go under: runners. In the second of four parts on the road to this year’s Tour de France, Radsport News takes a closer look at the six stages through to the second rest day. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Stage 4, July 5, Dunkirk – Calais, 171.5 km

Moving the cruise caravan from Denmark to France requires the first day of rest early. After that, the first stage on French soil is a section between the cities of Dunkirk and Calais in the north of the country. The latter city is famous for its ferry trips between France and England – and for the first time is a tourist stage destination. As in Denmark, winds can also play a decisive role at this point due to its proximity to the coast and some changes in direction, as the last 25 kilometers lead directly along the English Channel.

The roads in the area are also narrow and wavy, which brings with them a lot of hustle and bustle. There are six poisonous mountain classifications in the daily profile: the Côte de Cassel (Class IV) welcomes riders after 30.7 kilometers as a short stab over the cobblestones, followed by an ascent to the Côte de Remilly-Wirquin (Class IV), Côte de Nielles -lès-Bléquin (Class IV), Côte de Harlettes (Class IV), Côte du Ventus (Class IV) and Cap Blanc-Nez (Class IV), the latest 10.8-kilometre climb of at least 900 meters with an average incline of 7.5 percent. Today’s medium sprints take place after 63.2 kilometers in Lombres

Today’s turbulent profile must accommodate splinter groups – and thus cause a lot of work for feud teams if there is mass access at the end. The last kilometer is flat and goes straight ahead.

Stage 5, July 6, Lille Metropole – Arenberg-Port de Hainaut, 153.7 km

It’s the cobblestone day that many drivers and teams dread! And the route planners did not hold back: a total of 11 paving lanes with a total length of 19.4 km in the daily profile, the longest and most difficult sections are the Erre à Wandignies-Hamage (2.8 km), Warlaing à Brillon (2.4 km) and Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes à sectors. Sars-et-Rosières (2.4 km), which is defined between 123 and 133 km. There is no mountainous classification at this point. Starting at Lillie, the road first heads north to Roubaix before turning mostly south. In Mérignies, after 37.2 kilometres, the average sprint race for the day is set.

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The first cobbled sector awaits the field after 80 kilometers in the municipality of Villers-au-Tertre. In Ramollies, the course changes direction 60 kilometers before the finish line – from now on there is a paving strip every six kilometers on average. The last section is reached about seven kilometers before finishing in Hasnon (1.6 kilometres), and is also used in the opposite direction at Paris-Roubaix. After an unexpected 153.7 kilometres, the stage ends just before the Arenberg Forest, also known as the cobbled section of the classic Paris-Roubauix. The action-packed stages of the Tour ended here in 2010 (Winner: Thor Hushovd) and 2014 (Winner: Lars Boom) – in each case with a loss of time for some class riders.

Stage 6, July 7, Pinch-Longwe, 220.2 km

The division leads the first 70 kilometers through Belgium before the field returns to French soil at Regnues. The first mountain classification is after 87.5 kilometers on the Côte des Mazures (Class III), and the middle race of the day will be passed after 146.3 kilometers at Carignan. Otherwise, the terrain is not very demanding over long periods. However, this changes in the last 20 kilometers: first, it passes over the Côte de Montigny-sur-Chiers (Category IV), followed by another unclassified climb. In 2017, Peter Sagan won a sprint for a undefeated group at the same finish at Longwy – but at the time the Côte de Pulventeux was also not included in the track profile shortly before.

The Class Three climb is about six kilometers from the finish this time and challenges riders to the 800m with an average gradient of 12.3 percent — for some runners, the race can end at this point. After descending, it goes straight to the Côte des Religieuses, the final poisonous climb, which is not classified as a mountainous classification. The Côte starts two kilometers from the finish and has an average color gamut of 5.8 percent. Shortly before the Flamme Rouge, the slope reaches its maximum pass by as much as 11 percent.

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Stage 7, Tomblaine – La Super Planche des Belles Filles, 176.4 kilometers

The recent ascent to La Planche des Belles Filles seems to have become a favorite mountain for tour operators: in 2012 for the first time on the Tour of France, the tour entourage is now visiting the winter sports resort of Haute-Saône for the sixth time in ten years. This year for the second time in the so-called “Super Blanche” version, the last kilometer is covered on gravel roads with gradients of up to 24 percent. Dylan Teuns won the premiere in 2019. In 2020, the recent climb served as the backdrop to Tadej Pogacar’s test victory, who snatched the yellow jersey from Primoz Roglic on the penultimate stage.

As the route of the road passes through the Vosges, the terrain is also bumpy beforehand: after the average sprint for the day at 101.2 kilometers at Gerrarmer, at kilometers 107.7 and 136.1 are Class III mountain classifications to Col de Grosse Pierre and to The Col des Croix. However, on this day everything is focused on the final ascent: the ascent to La Super Planche des Belles Filles (Class I) is about seven kilometers long and an average grade of 8.7 percent – not to mention the last steep kilometer above the paved road is a highlight. Especially light. After this stage, the overall ranking gets the first structure.

Eighth stage, July 9, Dole – Lausanne, 186.3 km

The first week of this tour was not particularly suitable for runners, and the eighth stop to Lausanne should see a splinter group or a peppy punch player to be the ultimate winner. After the start in Dole and the average day’s run after 41.4 kilometers in Montrond, the terrain gradually begins to falter. The Côte du Maréchet (Class IV) is the first mountain classification of the day after 75.6 km and shortly thereafter at 101.3 km it rises to an additional 1,000 hikes to the Côte des Rousses (Class III), after which it becomes the domain of riders leaving France for Switzerland – after Denmark And Belgium, this is the third foreign trip in this tour. After 136.9 kilometers there is another mountain classification at Col de Pétra Félix (Category IV), followed by a 30 kilometer descent.

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Along Lake Geneva, riders reach their destination in Lausanne. The track planners chose the Olympic Stadium as their destination. The road there leads through the final ascent to the Côte du Stade Olympique (Class III), which is 4.6 kilometers long and has an average slope of 4.8%. The extension of the house is about 700 meters, but it is moderate with a slope of about three percent. Incidentally, the Lausanne Stadium does not deserve the name “Stade Olympique” because the Olympic Games were once held there, but because Lausanne has been the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1915.

Stage 9, July 10, Eagle – Châtel-les-Portes du Soleil, 192.9 km

This stage is initially a 150-kilometre loop around the Swiss town of Eagle, home of the World Cycling Federation. Initially, the route takes the field of riders along Lake Geneva and after 37.1 kilometers above the classification of the Côte de Bellevue (Class IV). Shortly thereafter, the field crosses the mean enemy at Semsales and the terrain near the Alps gradually begins to become more eclectic.

The ascent to the Col des Mosses (Category Two), which reaches 108.5 kilometres, has meanders over 13.1 kilometers and an average slope of four percent. After a short descent, you head straight back uphill to the Col de la Croix (Category 1), which awaits a field of 8.1 kilometers and an average gradient of at least 7.5 percent. The field reaches the summit at an altitude of 1,778 meters after 131.8 kilometers, before beginning a 20-kilometre descent, at the end of which the field passes again through the Eagle’s starting point. Then the road heads towards France, but the border crossing is uphill.

After 15.3 kilometers, the last four of which are noticeably flatter, and with an average gradient of 6.2 percent, the summit of the Pas de Morgens (Class I) signals a transition back to French soil. From there six kilometers down the hill before another four kilometers uphill with a slope of about four percent to today’s destination Châtel les Portes du Soleil. The next day is the second rest day.

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