Wednesday, 25 July 2018 – The 17th stage of the Tour de France goes to the summit of the Col de Portet. The route is only 65 kilometres long, but 38 kilometres of it runs uphill. Although being the shortest road stage of the 2018 Tour, this could very well turn out to be the hardest. The race ends with a sweeping 16 kilometres haul to the top of the Portet.

The shortest stage in last year’s Tour went to Foix and was a sensational ride. The race offered fireworks from start to finish before Warren Barguil outsprinted Nairo Quintana, Albert Contador and Mikel Landa on the line.

The 17th stage of the 2018 Tour de France begins in Bagnères-de-Luchon and the first peak is crested at kilometre 15. The climb up the Montée de Peyragudes is 14.9 kilometres, so it’s all systems go once the flag is dropped. To pep up the start riders are lined up as in a Formula 1 race. The starting grid features the top 20 in the first group (yellow jersey obviously on the first line). The rest of the field starts in four groups behind them, depending on the rider’s position on GC. So, as the route goes uphill straight away, top 20 riders can put pressure on their rivals and fly up the climb. Some GC-riders will want to wait for their domestics, other perhaps will not…

The Montée de Peyragudes consist of two climbs, the Peyresourde and the actual Peyragudes. The Col de Peyresourde is 13.7 kilometres at 6.9%. Last year it was the run-in to the finale at Peyragudes Altiport. On the steep arrival Romain Bardet bested his rivals, while Mikel Landa left his then leader Chris Froome behind.

Unlike last year, the riders turn left after the Peyresourde to move past the altiport and crest the Peyragudes after another 1.2 kilometre of climbing. The full 14.9 kilometres of the climb are averaging before the route drops down to Loudenvielle.

The second climb is the Col de Val Louron-Azet, which is a 7.4 kilometres toil at 8.3%. The KOM points are up for grabs where Claudio Chiappucci took a stage victory back in 1991. This time, the riders have 38 kilometres left to race.

Following the descent to Saint-Lary-Soulan the riders face one more challenge, which is the extremely demanding closing climb to the summit of the Col de Portet. The 16 kilometres ascent is averaging 8.7%, while the second, third ánd last kilometre are the steepest sectors, all with double digits gradients. Only one moment of respite for the tired legs when the climb flattens out to a false flat after 7 kilometres. Yet, this section is only 400 metres…

The first three riders on the line win time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds. The intermediate sprint (at kilometre 27.5) does not come with a time bonus.

https://www.cyclingstage.com/tour-de-france-2018-route/stage-17-tdf-2018/