The Brutal Mountain Stages of the 2019 Tour de France
Three mountain-top finishes over 2,000 metres, with back-to-back Alpine stages including the Izoard, Galibier, and the 2,770m-high Col d’Iseran, the highest paved road in Europe
Unveiled today in Paris is what Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme tounted as the “This is the highest Tour in history,”.
The 2010 Tour de France starts in Brussells and head's south for an anti clockwise loop of France tackling the Pyrenees in the second week and onto the Alps for in final week.
There are five "high altitude" summit finishes in next year's tour and some very tough undulating stages that will see the Sprinters teams working really hard to keep their favorites in contention.
Stage 6 to La Planche des Belles Filles
Stage six will see the first big fight between GC contenders with a heavy finish. The 157km stage starts Mulhouse and finishes atop the La Planche des Belles Filles with a 7km rise that maxes out at 20% at the top.
The stage features the climbs of the Ballons in the Alsace region that feature in the Trois Ballon's Gran Fondo, the stage features four significant climbs and the summit finish.
Expect fireworks on this opening stage.
Stage 12 to Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre
As the race reaches the foothills of the Pyrenees in the second week, the peloton get their first taste which includes the climbs of the Col de Peyresourde and the Hourquette d'Ancizan, both over 1,500 meters before the run into Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
This stage could see a breakaway try to go the distance, as whomever crests the Hourquette d'Ancizan has a one way downhill ticket to the finish line. This stage shouldn't worry the GC favourites too much who'll save their gun powder for another day.
Stage 14 to the Tourmalet
After yesterday's only time trial, wecould see the first time gaps opening up on the GC favorites. This stage would be ideal for contenders to launch an attack. The Tourmalet tops out at well over 2,000 metres, a beautiful but tough stage in the Pyrenees.
Stage 15 to Foix
Not as tough as the previous Pyrenean stages, stage 15 contains four categorized climbs, which is ripe for a breakaway or long range attacks. However it could come down to the final climb to Prat d'Albis at over 1,200 metres. GC favorites teams will be working hard to control the peloton on the last Pyrenean stage.
Stage 18 to Valloire
As the race enters the final week and swings north towards Paris and into the high Alps, this is where the 2019 Tour de France will be won and lost. The first of three brutal stages stage 18 gets harder and harder and will crack the strongest of riders.
Warming up on the 2,109 metres Col de Vars the route continue's north and take climsb the legenday Col d'Izoard through the Casse Dessert made famous by the of Bobbet. With a technical highspeed descent down into Briancon the peloton heads up the 30 km climb of the exposed Lauteret to reach the lower slopes of one of the toughst climbs in professional cycling, the Col du Galibier.
The climbs is steep, exposed and incredibly long. That's the easy part, the descent is sheer terror, steep, exposed and dangerous down to Plan Lechat before the open run down into Valloire.
GC contenders will be praying Vincenzo Nibali doesn't crest the Galibier in the lead group!
Stage 19 to Tignes
The highest road pass in the Alps, the Col de l'Iseran tops out a cold, air sapping 2,770 metres. The peleoton will have the Montee d'Aussois, Mont-Cenis and Col de la Madeliene to contend with before they it the lower slopes of the Iseran througn Bonnevail-Sur-Arc.
The descent of the Izoard is exposed and long before they hit the final climb up to Tignes, the second finish above 2,000 metres.
The second brutal day in the Alps, time gaps will surely open up and we see who the strongest in the running for the 100th Yellow Jersey.
Stage 20 to Val Thorens
This stage will leave no doubt as to who's in Yellow and will be a fitting finale for the final Alpine stage.
The climbs of the beautiful Cormet de Roselend the easier Côte de Longefoy before the final onslaught up to Val Thorens, the stage contains over 60 kms of climbing and descending. Will the winner of this stage pull on the Yellow Jersey, or will it have already been decided on the previous two Alpine stages?
Over 15,000 amateurs cyclsists will be able to ride this stage ahead of the Pro's in the Etape du Tour.