In the 9th stage of the Tour de France riders get served a hearty mountain dish in the Jura mountains. Before a downhill arrival in Chambery, the route takes in four tough cols and 4,600 vertical metres. Double digits climbs, yes sir.
Stage 15 in last year’s Tour de France made it plain and clear: you don’t have to go to the Alps or Pyrenees for captivating mountain stages. Jarlinson Pantano took the win ahead of Rafal Majka because he was the best descender and the finish was downhill after climbing a sheer endless series of Jura cols.
The Grand Colombier was in the roadbook twice in last year’s stage 15 and in stage 9 of the 2017 Tour de France the climb also pops up. The mountain is tackled from the toughest side, meaning grades at 22%. Col de la Biche and Mont du Chat are on the ‘Menu du Jour’, too.
The start is easy – or so it seems. Côte des Neyrolles is a 3.2 kilometres climb at 7.2%. Doable, one would argue. But after ‘cresting’ Neyrolles, at an elevation of 825 metres, there is no such thing as a descent as the climb goes on to Col de Bérentin, peaking at 1,144 metres. An average gradient of 4.25%. Still no descent but a false flat leading to the Col de Cuvery. And then, finally, the drop.
The race is 16.5 kilometres underway and that’s just the beginning. Col de la Biche makes its presence felt with around 50 kilometres done. The climb is 10.5 kilometres at 9% and comes with a surprise at the top. Following a short decent the road goes up again for 1 kilometre at 3.5%