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2011 Tour de France Stage 18 - Pinerolo - Galibier Serre-Chevalier 200.5km

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2011 Tour de France Stage 18 - Pinerolo - Galibier Serre-Chevalier 200.5km

19 Jul 2011 07:47

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[SIZE="6"]
THE GALIBIER[/SIZE]

" wrote:Oh ! Sappey ! Oh ! Laffrey ! Oh ! Col Bayard ! Oh ! Tourmalet ! I will not fail in my work in proclaiming that beside Galibier you are but pale and vulgar beers. There is nothing more to do but tip your hat and salute from well below!


Oft ridden over, the Galibier is as synonymous to the Tour as Zoncolan is to the Giro. There's only one greater mountain in Le Tour that's outranks it in prestige but that as they say, is another story (Stage 19's to be precise). This year marks the centenary of the first use of Galibier and the stage is a ripper.

" wrote:You are bandits!


Much like the heroes of our favourite Westerns, our 7 true modern heroes of the GC will need to navigate against the parcours set against them by the bandits from ASO.

Every year raced, Le Tour has never stopped on Galibier, letting the riders put it firmly behind them once they crest it, out of mind for at least another year. Not now. Not this Tour. Never before has this infamous mountain been host to a mountain top finish but come Thursday, at a height of 2645m it will be the highest finish of Le Tour. Ever.

Route:

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Profile:

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" wrote:"Don't push me. F*** off."
User avatar Tuarts
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The Mountains

19 Jul 2011 07:47

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Col Agnel (Colle dell'Agnello)

After a steady 80km of ascending out of the Italian town of Pinerolo they hit this beast of a climb. This is the fiercest and toughest climb in this Tour. Such is its reputation it has only ever been visited by Le Tour once before in 2008 but only then by the French side rather than the Italian side that they will be battling up this stage. Egoi Martinez got the honour of cresting this mountain first but Simon Gerrans won the stage.

As the mostly intact peloton hits the start at Sampeyre they should mostly be intact, those that aren't might as well give up hope of making the time limit. The innocuous starting ramp of 3% over the first 3km will lull the unwary of the rides into false-confidence. Then they go past Casteldelfino and it will start to ramp up to 8-9% gradients.

6km gone, they get a momentary reprieve, again the mountain will be taunting those who think they have the legs, "come on, attack and try to best me". BAM! An 11% ramp will suck the life out of their legs and many will start hanging onto the peloton to dear life. The gradient for the next 4-5km will then ease into 4% before the mountain unleashes its worst: a wall of 9-11%, a terror that will last for over 7km.

When the peloton (and those stupid enough to be in the breakaway) finally crest the top they will be relived...till they remember, they've only just done 1/3 of the day's climbing. For those unhinged, the day is going to be even longer.

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Col d'Izoard

Then its the Izoard! The scene of the great battles between Coppi and Bobet in the 50's, this is a "treat" the peloton would have liked to politely refuse. Only 20km of descending to recover the legs and then its to the base of this climb.

Ascending this will torture the riders, they can not ride it at tempo, with the gradient varying from a false flat of 1% through to 8% for the first 7km.

Then the mountain will let you know what it thinks of the riders "surviving" its Alpine sister. It will ramp to 10%, varying little up until La Casse Déserte, which barren rocky landcaspe, which leads to a small descent will seem like very much like an oasis to the riders.

There is more, just as the legs begin to say thanks for the rest they have to go another 2km of 7% and 9% gradients, after Agnel and what they have done so far, it might as well be 20km, it will feel like it for those poor souls. Getting over this, their day is almost done, until they cry a little inside as they realise what is next on menu. Do they give up? Do they f***.

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Col du Galibier

Oh how the legs must be screaming by now. There will be no one hiding in the peloton now. Those left will be those with the strongest legs. 23km is the length of this climb, today the South side of Galibier, mocking referred to as the "easy" side. It is so long, it incorporates another col, the Col du Lautaret.

The finale for this stage, a shrine and homage to the mountain that has been at the heart of the Tour for a century, ramps slowly out of the city of Briancon, at gradients between 2.5% to 5%. After 17 other days in the saddle as well the climbs they just went over, every kilometer will be felt in the legs.

Still they will press on, and at the 14km they pass Col du Lautaret, knowing that now, this is now where the climbing becoming more unrelenting as it starts to get up to 6% through to 8%. 4km now for those in the lead and as they turn right, it will lead onto the road that will make them immortal. 9% ramp wont be steep enough for Andy but it will hurt everyone else and few (including the wonder boy) will be riding away now.

The penultimate 2km will see it at 5% before finally the last km ramps back up to 9% and the winner will have fittingly deserve Souvenir Henri Desgranges.

Who will be the first person ever in 98 editions of Le Tour? It is likely to be a breakaway winner but just as likely, it is likely to be one of our Magnificent 7, one of the leaders looking to prove himself and show that his is indeed, a champion among his peers.
" wrote:"Don't push me. F*** off."
User avatar Tuarts
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The Magnificent 7

19 Jul 2011 07:48

So who are these "gunslingers" that are likely to be the last man standing on top of the podium come Paris and what is their background?

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Thomas Voeckler 71h 23' 49"

At the start of the tour if someone suggested to you that Voeckler would be in yellow and a chance at Overall victory you'd laugh at them - then book them a one way ticket to France. Voeckler has exceeded the French's wildest dreams and everyone else expectation and has a very healthy buffer from the rest of the GC contenders. How this little puncheur has been able to stay at with the best is only known the the man himself but no one can help but admire him. He will need to time trial like he's never done before but even if he's the unlikeliest of the 7 to win, considering how he has got to today and how valiantly he has held it, you can not discount the man now. Integral to his success has been Pierre Rolland, the best lieutenant..err...domestique at this Tour. He will have to continue riding like he has been for TV in the Alpes and regardless, he deserves high praise for his exploits already. His chance to shine for himself cannot be far away.

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Frank Schleck + 01' 22"

On Luz Ardiden Frank looked the best of the brothers however on the Plateau he could be considered the weakest. The best placed of the brothers (and contenders), what happens to Frank will rely on what happens to his brother too. If Frank has the legs he could be the one to increase his lead on the others but he will need to get a large buffer coming into the time trial.

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Cadel Evans + 01' 18"

Has to be considered the favourite now, taking into account his time trial ability. After a near-perfect two Pryneenan stages, as well as a win in the first week, Cadel will need to guard carefully the other contenders who will look to take time into him on the next 2 mountain top finishes. He has arguably the best support he has ever had at the tour and its likely his last chance to do it. Will Cadel crack or will he ride above himself, marking all the moves?

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Andy Schleck + 02' 36"

Andy has lately become more words than actions and won himself few fans after his "attacking" display on the Plateau de Beille. On form he's likely the only one to be able to keep up with a Contador's accelerations but with his rival almost done and out it really is up to Andy to capitilise. Not only that, he has to put more time into Cadel than 2 seconds if he wants any chance to pull on the maillot juane in Paris. Needs to drops his brother, and his constant turtle-neck movements to progress, Galibier and L'Alpe will be the perfect chance for Andy to shine.
" wrote:"Don't push me. F*** off."
User avatar Tuarts
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The Magnificent 7 (cont)

19 Jul 2011 07:49

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Ivan Basso + 03' 49"

Basso hasn't had the best of luck this year. The 2010 Giro winner highlighted the TDF long before it came around and after the start of the season narrowed his objectives to just the Tour. However a significant crash left him with no form at all at the Dauphine. The master of diesel climbing himself has however, looked very strong so far without excelling on the previous mountains and if he's riding himself into form, then the others will surely be fearing his famous grin. Not to mention having a domestique in Szmyd who can destroy all before him if he wants too.

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Samuel Sanchez + 02' 59"

Of the favourites (excluding Tommy) Samu has flown under many of the experts radars. That or they aren't considering him. The Stage 1 crash and the TTT has dose nothing to help but after he has to have been the best of them all at climbing in the Pryenees, discount Sanchez at your peril. A lot of time to make up but if he gets another win, he wont just **** off Jelle Vanendert and get the polka dots, he'll likely gain time and if he lights it up in Grenoble may well be Euskatel's 1st TdF winner.

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Alberto Contador + 03' 15"

Last but certainly not least, is Alberto. Anything can happen with Bertie, he can accelerate away and leave everyone to eat his dust ala the Giro but he has already done a GT, the hardest one in memory and has to be considered fatigued from that. Not to mention an injury to his knee and a lot of time loss on Stage 1 has people doubting him. However he is one man you can't ever discount he can dance on those pedals if he wants too, and leave all your favourites behind
" wrote:"Don't push me. F*** off."
User avatar Tuarts
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19 Jul 2011 07:51

Whew, that took longer than I thought. :D

I wanted to this, and I can only do it today before I'm away from computer.

Hope I did you justice Hitch. Knowing the luck these build ups have, it'll be snowing and it'll end in Briancon. :D

Thanks too I should add to many of the sites that have information on these climbs, hope I haven't ripped too much of your work. :D
" wrote:"Don't push me. F*** off."
User avatar Tuarts
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19 Jul 2011 08:03

You forgot the king of the Pyrenees. :D
Ryo Hazuki wrote:horrible. boonen just the same guy as years before and this course is too hard for him. that's why he rode like a coward there were at least 3 guys stronger than boonen today and none of them won: sagan, ballan, pozzato


The Hitch wrote:Goss will woop boonens candy a[color="Black"]ss[/color] in a sprint he cares about, any day of the week
User avatar El Pistolero
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19 Jul 2011 08:03

Great preview Tuarts :)
RIP Wouter Weylandt - 27 September 1984 – 9 May 2011.

RIP Xavier Tondó Volpini - 5 November 1978 – 23 May 2011

RIP John aka theswordsman - 2 July 1957 - 1 August 2011

Wouter, John and Xavi, you all will be missed.
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19 Jul 2011 08:06

Nice.

Atm, I don't believe that snow will be a problem - it will be cold but passable. Just in case though, does anyone know a contingency plan in case they can't ride over the Agnel and there will be snow on the Galibier.
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19 Jul 2011 08:09

The profile suggests this could be an epic stage. The racing so far suggests otherwise. Let's hope the profile wins the battle this time!
kjetilraknerud
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19 Jul 2011 08:26

Great preview. Lol at Desrange. You should have Rolland in the magnificent group as he does so much work for Voeckler. Imagine if Kern were here he and Rolland would pwn the race and leave Voeckler in yellow. The weather will make for exciting racing and will come off the back of two difficult days where GC contenders might ( ATTACK !!!!!!!! )
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong

The Grand Boucle wasn't just Europe's for the taking.

Quote:VAE
"Has Porte ever dropped Nibali in any mountain?"
D&C "He will soon..."
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19 Jul 2011 08:36

Lets hope there is some agresive climbing making the race as epic as the profile and the preview!
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19 Jul 2011 08:43

movistar and omega will set an average speed of 40 km/h on the first two hours of racing,cav will be in big trouble.
Vino 4ever
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19 Jul 2011 10:47

The new king of previews...Tuarts! The Hitch will have to hit back if he wants to reclaim his crown:)
diggercuz wrote:second post ever after reading the forum for the last few years and one thing i must say, ACF94 is probably the most intelligent poster here, never biased to BMC or Cadel, and never gets worked up over anything.
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19 Jul 2011 10:52

jens_attacks wrote:movistar and omega will set an average speed of 40 km/h on the first two hours of racing,cav will be in big trouble.


That'd be hilarious.
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19 Jul 2011 11:03

Phil already said he wants to get Cav outside the time limit. But they only have 4 people...
Ryo Hazuki wrote:horrible. boonen just the same guy as years before and this course is too hard for him. that's why he rode like a coward there were at least 3 guys stronger than boonen today and none of them won: sagan, ballan, pozzato


The Hitch wrote:Goss will woop boonens candy a[color="Black"]ss[/color] in a sprint he cares about, any day of the week
User avatar El Pistolero
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19 Jul 2011 11:12

Nicely done.

Col d Angel is what can really make this stage. Forget, Plateau de Beille, Alpe d huez, Galibier, Mont Ventoux, this is Le Tours Zoncolan (or maybe its Finnestre) though its gradients obviously dont match up to those standards.

greenedge wrote:You should have Rolland in the magnificent group as he does so much work for Voeckler.


+1 Rolland has impressed me more than anyone in this Tour. Though if you have him there, you also have to have Vanendert and there never was no magnificent 9.
The Hitch: Winner 2013 Vuelta cq game. Winner, Velorooms prediction game 2012, 2013. 2nd all time cq rankings.
The Father of Clean Cycling, Christophe Bassons wrote:When I look at cycling today, I get the impression that history is repeating itself: riders who are supposed to be rouleurs are climbing passes at the front of the race, and those who are supposed to be climbers are riding time trials at more than 50 kilometres per hour.

The story is beginning again, just as it did 14 years ago


journalist with integrity.
User avatar The Hitch
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19 Jul 2011 11:15

El Pistolero wrote:Phil already said he wants to get Cav outside the time limit. But they only have 4 people...


I thought he said that about the Alpe stage, not this one. The Alpe stage is so short, so it'd be perfect if OPL could set a high tempo up Galibier
User avatar jsem94
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19 Jul 2011 11:20

jsem94 wrote:I thought he said that about the Alpe stage, not this one. The Alpe stage is so short, so it'd be perfect if OPL could set a high tempo up Galibier

Problem is they don't have anyone left to set a high tempo up Galibier. Lang? Roelandts? Greipel? Sieberg? Don't think so :)
kjetilraknerud
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19 Jul 2011 11:25

Yeah, I don't think Vanendert will want to sacrifice himself to set a tempo up Galibier.
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19 Jul 2011 11:39

Also, the Alpe d'Huez stage, just like the Lourdes stage, will be a "short mountain stage", with 3% more time limit than the "normal mountain stages". So it's actually more likely to get Cavendish eliminated on the Galibier stage.
Fus087
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