Stage 18: Gap to Alpe d’Huez

The Tour makes for great viewing, but not everyone has the time to watch all 21 stages of the race. Here are the key stages to tune in for this year.

Jun 27, 2013
Outside Magazine

The famous switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez.    Photo: Pablog/Wikipedia

A trip up Alpe d’Huez is the highlight of any Tour, so the fact that riders will be taking it on twice on one day makes this arguably the most anticipated stage in years. The novel course comes thanks improvements on the road that climbs from Alpe d’Huez resort over the Col de la Sarenne, which makes it possible for the peloton to climb the 21 switchbacks, descend south and west back to Bour d’Oisans, and then do it all again to the summit.

The first ascent is unlikely to be a flat-out dash, though the descent from the Cold de la Sarenne is tight and tricky and could result in gaps for the tentative. The Alpe’s steepest pitches come in the first third, so climbers like Contador and Rodriguez may try their luck at opening a gap and holding from there to the finish.

Distance: 172.5 km
Date: 7/18