Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 Tour de France: Alpe d'Huez 2X! Tomorrow

Tomorrow's stage 18, Gap / Alpe-d'Huez, 172.5 km will feature two ascents of the Alpe d'Huez. The first Alpe d'Huez stage was held in 1952 and was won by Fausto Coppi.

How the idea of the 2x Alpe d'Huez stage came into being:
“The former riders in my team didn't want it,” said Christian Prudhomme about the idea of staging a short stage to Alpe d'Huez in the 100th edition. The race director takes up the story of how an exciting concept was hatched.

“I told my team, ‘We'll do only a little more than 100 kilometres to Alpe d'Huez and they told me, ‘No, it's too short.' I called Bernard Thévenét and said, ‘Bernard, help…!' because he, a two-time champion of the Tour has a global view. And just after he took over the lead from Eddy Merckx at Pra Loup in 1975, the day after, there was a stage that was only 107km. In my chat with him, I said, ‘Please, talk to the ex-riders from my team.'

“He explained to them what it can be. But Thierry Gouvenou (who is part of the planning committee) didn't agree. He told me, ‘It's too short. If you want to do this stage, you must do Alpe d'Huez twice!'

“This was in April 2010, and I looked at him and said, ‘What an idea! Marvellous – but not for 2011, but 2013 because it will be the 100th edition of the Tour.' That's the story of the 42 hairpins for what will be a great stage in 2013.”

Weather may be a factor and there have been some rumors about cancelling the second Alpe d'Huez ascent if the weather is terrible due to the nature of the descent of the Col de Sarenee. This is the weather forecast for tomorrow (click to enlarge):

A video of descending the Col de Sarenee:

Col de Sarenne - extended descent from Proflavio on Vimeo.

Other Italian winners of Alpe d'Huez stage:
Gianni Bugno, 1990 and 1991
Roberto Conti, 1994
Marco Pantani, 1995 and 1997
Giuseppe Guerini, 1999

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