The route of the 17th stage in the 2017 Tour de France takes the riders over the infamous passes Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier to finish downhill in Serre Chevalier. Totalling at 183 kilometres, the last 28 kilometres of stage 17 are a steady drop.
For departure place La Mure it is their first time in the Tour de France. Never before the town hosted La Grande Boucle. After the start the riders set sail for the Col d’Ornon, a 10 kilometres climb at 6.1% that’s crested with 30 kilometres done.
Descending into the valley of the Romanche River the route travels north to hit the Col de la Croix de Fer. The climb kicks in hard with steepest ramps at 10% for the first 7 kilometres. A descent brings some relief before other steep slopes appear. All in all, it is 24 kilometres to the top at 2,067 metres with an average of 5.2% increase.
It will be 18th time the Col de la Croix de Fer is climbed in the Tour de France. The first time was in 1947 and the last time in 2015, then even twice – in stage 19 and in stage 20.
We’re just getting started. Halfway down the descent of the Croix de Fer the riders are halfway today’s stage. The infamous twin Télégraphe/Galibier is coming up next with the first the subset to the last. One of the most feared double-barreled climbs in the world.
The Col du Télégraphe is a steady 11.9 kilometres climb with 7.1% before a 5 kilometres drop brings the riders to the base of the Col du Galibier. To arrive at the top at 2,642 metres the riders have to climb 1,225 vertical metres in 17.7 kilometres, therefore the average slope is 6.9%.
The first half of the Galibier is doable. Steeper parts alternate with flatter parts. The last 7 kilometres, that’s where the pain joins in with sections of more than 10%. At the summit there is 28 kilometres left to race.
The road after the top is marked by switchbacks, but nothing stands in the way of cycling at top speed. Basically, it is all downhill until the finish line in Serre Chevalier.
It’s the fourth time a Tour de France stage will finish in the ski resort. Today’s winner steps in the footsteps of Vicente Lopez-Carril (1974), Bernard Thévenet (1975) and Tony Rominger (1993).
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses at 10, 6 and 4 seconds.