Bastille Day is always special on the Tour de France. This year's 'Bastille' route is 177 kilometres long and traverses the Pyrenees. Following climbs up the Col de Peyresourde and Col d’Azet-Val Louron the race serves a mountain top at the Col du Portet. Which is a 16 kilometres ascent at 8.7%.
Three years ago the Tour de France served a Pyrenees stage with the same climbs, but it was much shorter. Namely 65 kilometres. Nairo Quintana soloed to victory that day, while Geraint Thomas extended his GC lead.
In fact, this year’s 17th stage is similar, only with an undulating run-in preceding the mountainous sector.
The riders clip into their pedals in Muret and 113.5 kilometres later they move through Bagnères-de-Luchon, which is where the 2018 stage started. Shortly, the Col de Peyresourde appears. The 13.2 kilometres climb goes up at 7% before a 10.5 kilometres downhill leads onto the Col d’Azet-Val Louron. This is a 7.4 kilometres climb at 8.3%.
Straight after the descent the long and hard finish climb kicks in. The gradient on the Col du Portet hardly falls below 8%. It is a steady ascent of 16 kilometres long with a brutal finale, as the last kilometre rises at 10% to the line. The Portet averages 8.7%.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
The 17th stage of the Tour de France starts at 11.55 and the race is expected to finish around 17.05 – both are local times (CEST).