Stage 17: Chambery - Morzine-Avoriaz, 224 km
Last mountain stage, and this should be one for the ages. Over 220 km with 8 categorized climbs and over 5200 height meters. The race time could be 6 1/2 to 7 hours, and it's possible to lose a lot of time if you crack at Joux-Plane with another difficult climb to the finish in Avoriaz.
The riders start in Chambery and head northeast towards Albertville. Before they reach Albertville, they turn north over Col de Tamie and then south over Col de la Forclaz, both cat.2 climbs. But that's just to soften the riders legs before the real climbing starts. After 90 km the climb to Saises starts, and are followed by Aravis and de la Colombiere, three frequently used climbs in the Tour, and perhaps best known from Floyd Landis' monster breakaway in 2006.
Like then the course also crosses Cote de Chatilon and heads east towards Samoens where the brutal climb to Joux-Plane starts. Almost 12 km and 9 %, this is a real killer, and it was here Armstrong almost cracked in the 2000 edition. But unlike then, the riders won't finish in Morzine, but have to climb to the ski resort of Avoriaz above the city. With over 200 km and 4300 height meters in their legs already, the last climb could be pure torture after at least 6 hours on the bike.
50 km: Col de Tamie, 9,6 km, 6,1 %, cat 2
78 km: Col de la Forclaz: 4,7 km, 6%, cat 2
105 km: Col des Saises: 15 km, 6,2 %, cat 1
130 km: Col des Aravis: 8,5 km, 6,4 %, cat 2
155 km: Col de la Colombiere 12,3 km, 5,7 %, cat 1
178 km: Cote de Chatillon: 5,6 km, 4,6 %, cat 3
199 km: Col de Joux-Plane: 11,6 km, 8,8 %, cat HC
224 km: Morzine Avoriaz: 13,2 km, 6,2 %, cat 1