The Tour de France "caravan"
Rodez - 17th and 18th July
Road through the Tarn gorge - 18th July
France's greatest sporting event
Le Tour 2015 the routeThe 2015 Tour de France is a north and south event which will give plenty of opportunities to the hill-climbers. Seven of the Tour's 21 stages are mountain stages, taking in some of the highest passes in the Pyrenees and the Alps, including the Col du Galibier, at 2642 metres.
The first mountain climb is at the end of stage 10, which is on July 14th, France's national day, with a climb from 134 metres at Mauléon, to the finish at 1610 metres at La Plaine Saint Martin.
Stage 11, on July 15th, is a Pyrenean classic, with climbs to the Col d'Aspin, 1490 metres, then to the Col du Tourmalet at 2115 metres, before a finish at the ski resort of Cauterets. The third and last Pyrenean stage, on July 16th, is a four climb day, finishing with a 1260 metre climb to the the finish at Plateau de Beille, at an altitude of 1780 metres.
From 17th to 20th July, riders make their way across to the Alps; there are plenty of hills in this part of France. In particular riders will travel up part of the Tarn gorge, passing underneath the spectacular Millau viaduct.
On 22nd July, for the first proper Alpine stage, riders take in four passes of over 1000 metres, the highest being the Col d'Allos at 2205 metres before a descent then another ascent to the finish at 1620 metres at Pra Loup.
The summit of the Col du Galibier... in early July.
On day 18, July 23rd, riders will need all the stamina they have for the climb from Séchillienne at 365 metres to the pass at Col du Glandon, at 1924 metres - a virtually continual climb of 1559 metres, or about 5000 ft.
Next day is another four summit day, peaking at the Col de la Croix de Fer, 2067 metres, and with a final climb to the finish at 1705 metres at La Toussuire.
But the icing on the cake comes on the final Alpine day, stage 20 on Saturday July 25th. The gruelling climb that begins at Saint Michel de Maurienne, at 732 metres, takes riders via Valloire and up to the high summit of the Col du Galibier at 2642 metres above sea level, a climb of 1910 metres or over 6250 ft. That's followed by a long downhill down to Bourg d'Oisans before another 1100 metre climb back up the hairpin bends on the road to the finish at Alpe d'Huez, at an altitude of 1850 metres – a total climb for the single day of almost 3200 metres, over 10,500 ft.
After that, the following day's great sprint to the finish up the Champs Elysées in Paris should seem like a doddle.
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