Tour de France stage 7: Saint Jean de Luz - La Pierre Saint Martin (179 km)
This year the tour de france will use "La Pierre Saint Martin" as a stage finish for the first time. Although the ASO managed to make the absolute worst out of this stage the idea of a mtf up there is pretty good. However its easy to forget that La Pierre Saint Martin is actually located on a pass, the col de la Pierre St. Martin. Of course there are many possibilities to put good climbs before the mtf if you use the finish like in this years tour, but I still prefer the route over the south side of the climb, so I present you stage 7 of my tdf.
The first real monster stage of my tour de france starts in the finishing town of stage 6, Saint Jean de Luz. After some flat the first two climbs start. The puerto de Oxtando and the Col d'Izpeguy come directly after each other and between these two passes the riders will drive through a foreign country. These two climbs would probably be very important for the building of the break away. After the descent from the Col d'Izpeguy over the spanish/french border, there is an intermediate sprint which lays on the second little flat section of the day. After this flatter section the most difficult part of the stage starts. First the riders will have to climb the Col de Burdincurucheta a first category climb which isn't that long but very very steep, especially if you consider that this is a french pass. After a short descent the Col Bagargui starts immediately. Although the climb up there is neither long nor steep the descent on a very narrow road is quite difficult and dangerous. After passing the town Larrau the most difficult challenge of the day starts. The port the larrau isn't that long and even has a two kilometer long mostly flat section during the ascent but the rest of the climb is so difficult and steep that it is still the only HC climb of the stage and the first one of the tour.
The port de larrau has only been used twice in the tour which is a real waste of potential. Although the south ascent of the pass is in spain the vuelta and especially the tdf should use this climb more often also because the steepness is something completely unusual for france. After the descent the Alto Laza is the last little climb before a flat section. This flat section with an intermediate sprint in Uztarroz ends at the beginning of the Col de la Pierre St. Martin. The Spanish side of this climb isn't almost as difficult as the french side, which is used in this years tdf, but still difficult enough to create some time gaps. btw the profile of this climb is very similar to the port de larrau, because of the length and the flat section which comes almost on the same point at both climbs. The only difference is the steepness. The descent after the top of the climb is very short and the street is in very good condition, so the time differences at the top of the climb shouldn't change that much on the way to the finish line.
This stage would be pretty hard to predict. It is the first serious mountain stage, so the flat section before the final climb doesn't really matter, because there wont be any reason for long range attacks.
Col de la Pierre St. Martin:
Puerto de Oxtando (2nd cat.)
Col d'Izpeguy (3rd cat.)
Col de Burdincurucheta (1st cat.)
Col Bagargui (3rd cat.)
Port de Larrau (HC)
Alto Laza (4th cat.)
Col de la Pierre St. Martin (1st cat.)
ps: sorry if there are some spelling or grammar mistakes, I just didnt want to read throuth the whole text again