Sunday, July 15, 2007

Next: Off to see Tour de France Stage 9!

It's going to happen! That is, the visit to Briancon to watch the finish of stage 9 on Tuesday (Val-d’Isère - Briançon, 159.5km).

Cycling friend, Stefano, is doing the mad dash drive to Briancon on Monday. Tuesday a.m. we will explore Briancon on foot, early afternoon pickup our VIP tickets for the finish courtesy of Eros, and then settle into the VIP area at the finish line area.

The stage will feature some of the classic climbs of the Tour de France, including the Galibier which I climbed only a few weeks ago. Will it come down to a sprint into Briancon or will someone get away like young T-Mobile rider Linus Gerdemann on Stage 7? This is how forsees the stage:
"Bang! Right from the start of stage nine, the Tour peloton will ascend from the exclusive ski resort of Val d'Isère. The riders will head up the windy, wide-open slopes of the Col de l'Iseran (15km @ 6%) to the 2770-metre high summit, one of the highest in Europe.
Coming as it does on the day after the rest day in Tignes, the climb will be doubly-hard and once over the top, it's a long, fast downhill run down the Maurienne valley to St.Michel-de-Maurienne. There the long, legendary double ascent of the Télégraphe (12.0 km climb @ 6.7 % grade / 1st Cat) and Galibier (17.5 km @ 6.9 %) begins and it will certainly make a crucial selection, especially on the steep final 10 kilometres of the Galibier.
Then it's a long, fast descent past the monument to Tour founder Henri Desgranges with 37 kilometres to go to the finish in Europe's highest city of Briançon and a steep, difficult stage finish in the Fort de Salettes.
Km 15: Col de l'Iseran: 15.0 km climb @ 6 % grade / hors catégori
Km 99: Col du Telegraphe: 12.0 km climb @ 6.7 % grade / 1st Cat.
Km 122: Col du Galibier: 17.5 km climb @ 6.9 % grade / hors catégorie
Sprints:Km 33.5: Le Villaron (Bessans)Km 60: Bramans"
Stay tuned for a full report.
Photos: Stage 9 map and profile, a view of Briancon, me a few weeks ago on Galibier

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