Today’s stage: Briançon – Alpe-d’Huez (165.1 kilometers)
The exact replica of the 18the The stage of the 1986 Tour de France should be a test for the peloton, on Thursday 14 July. The day after arriving at the Granon pass, runners will have to face three non-categorical difficulties: the Galibier pass, due to an easier difference in level than the previous day, the Croix-de-Fer pass and the finish. ‘Alpe-d’Huez, with its legendary twenty-one bends.
“A runner interested in the overall standings could try something there”assured Vincent Lavenu, manager of the AG2R La Mondiale team, in the monthly Bike Magazine published before the start of the Tour. We will even go so far as to say that we will have to try something to upset the new yellow jersey, the Dane Jonas Vingegaard. “In this phase of the game an intermediate evaluation will be necessary”, said Christian Prudhomme during the presentation of the race course. After these two days of testing, in effect, we will see it more clearly in the overall standings.
Our (unbreakable) realism makes us lean towards a victory of Tadej Pogacar at the end of the twenty-one bends of the climb to the Alpe-d’Huez. Because he is a vengeful Slovenian who could well attack this stage. On Wednesday, the double outgoing winner of the Grande Boucle (23) recorded a major setback at the top of the Col du Granon: left behind in the last ascent by Jonas Vingegaard, he was stripped by the latter of the yellow jersey.
“I don’t know if I’m a better climber than [Jonas Vingegaard]. Granon and Alpe-d’Huez will be two huge stages and then we will see who is the strongest. “said Tadej Pogacar on Monday during the second day off.
In the first round, the advantage was Danish. “It simply came to our notice then. I will keep fighting. I lost three minutes, I will try to make up for the time “, warned the Slovenian on Wednesday after the stage. “It will be good to continue our duel”he promised.
Our romance (just as incorruptible) makes us imagine a Thibaut Pinot, all smiles, raise your arms after an intense solitary effort at the top of the Alpe-d’Huez on July 14th. It is impossible to get the idea of seeing a French driver win this national holiday. Achieving such a feat, the Franc-Comtois, already victorious in the Alpe d’Huez in 2015, or one of his compatriots, would join some of the winning names on this significant date. Laurent Jalabert in 2001, Richard Virenque in 2004 or Warren Barguil, the last to win on July 14, 2017.
“It will not stay, I don’t think, it is not possible. My heart hurts. I would love to, but now is the time to thank him for everything he has done for the team. “
The beautiful story of the return of the prodigal son is about to end. Patrick Lefevere, manager of the Belgian Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team, said so The Gazzetta dello Sporton Monday, that British sprinter Mark Cavendish, whom he had recovered in 2021 when the latter had been unsuccessful for a few years, was no longer in his plans for 2023. “I know he wants to compete for two more years, but it’s not part of our project,” explained Patrick Lefevere, who next year will have a new sponsor to support Quick-Step: Soudal, current partner of the Belgian Lotto team.
After joining Patrick Lefevere and the Quick-Step, Mark Cavendish had a number of results, highlighting the four-stage victory in the Tour de France, as well as the green jersey in the points classification. At 37, the Briton was not selected for this 2022 edition of the Grande Boucle, as the team management has been preferred by the Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen.
With his 1,337 meters above sea level, Briançon has nothing to scare the riders of the Tour de France. The sub-prefecture of the Hautes-Alpes, however, wants to be the highest city in France and the highest fortified city in Europe. Many forts were designed from 1692 by Vauban, the famous architect of Louis XIV, to deal with the repeated attacks of the Duke of Savoy.
Scattered in the heart and around the alpine city, these buildings have been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2008 and represent one of the tourist attractions of the region. The collegiate church of Notre-Dame, built by a protégé of Vauban, is another, with its clock and sundial arranged symmetrically on its two bell towers. Finally, it is impossible not to mention the Gargouille, a pedestrian street lined with fountains and stops and crossed by a characteristic central canal.
In the retro
The climb to the Alpe-d’Huez, its twenty-one turns but also its … last bend. Greg LeMond has yet to remember it. In 1990, the American got a little scared there when the 11the stage. World champion jersey on his back, he had cut priority to Dutchman Eric Breukink and threw his sprint on the turn. But he had strayed too far and failed to hit a policeman who had had the presence of mind to take a step back.
Despite this scare and second place behind Italian Gianni Bugno, the reigning champion was still able to show a wide smile at the finish line. He had calmed down on the mountain and Ronan Pensec, his Z classmate, was wearing the yellow jersey. The Breton will lose the next day in favor of Claudio Chiappucci. Greg LeMond will wait until the day before his arrival in Paris to strip the Italian of the time trial and head for his third victory at the Grande Boucle.
The broom wagon
From the Danish stages to the Alpine days, there is a small detail that appears at each stage of the Tour route. A white door, sponsored by the Hauts-de-Seine department, and installed at kilometer 92. Some of the Tour fans present in the 80s and 90s also retain a good memory. Because at the time, the so-called “kilometer 92” was a place of coexistence where you could have a snack and throw a little before going out on the road again.
After years of absence, he has returned to the Grande Boucle for this 2022 edition. With a few small adjustments. Departure of the small gueuleton next door: the department of Ile-de-France, which will host the start of the last stage, on July 24, now offers viewers to bet on the team of the pilot who will pass this mark at the head . That doesn’t taste the same!
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