ETAPE du TOUR 2008!
What will the 2008 Etape du Tour be like?
To give you a clue, the photo shows the last 4km of the Tourmalet climb in the 2001 etape du Tour!
The first 50 miles should be straight forwards – a nice warm up for the mountains, with a couple of small climbs to add a bit of spice! In fact the temptation might be to cycle too fast, as 8500 keen international cyclist sweep forward towards the highest road pass in the Pyrenees!
Tourmalet is a nice challenging mountain – the lower slopes are quite easy, becoming steeper, finally emerging to true spectacular mountain scenery as we approach the Col after 1250 metres of climbing! At 2115 metres, it is possible that the weather may be challenging as well as the climb!
After a long, fast descent, the Etape approaches the foot of Hautacam, where the climbing begins again! A slightly shorter climb – but rather more torturous, as its spaghetti of hairpins tackles a variable gradient to the top, finally easing off in the last three km where the view is said to be spectacular!
In comparison with last year’s etape, the consensus is that it will be easy. However in comparison with just about anything else – it is vraiment formidable!