- Aug 31, 2014
Saturday, July 9th • Stage info • Startlist • Roadbook • Rules • Weather: Start, Halfway, Finish
Starts at 12:20 - Live video from 14:15 - Finish at 17:20 (CEST) • Live ticker • Livestreams
Mountain passes & hills:
Km 86.0 - Col du Tourmalet (2 115 m) Souvenir Jacques Goddet 19 kilometre-long climb at 7.4% - category H
Km 120.0 - Hourquette d'Ancizan (1 564 m) 8.2 kilometre-long climb at 4.9% - category 2
Km 148.0 - Col de Val Louron-Azet (1 580 m) 10.7 kilometre-long climb at 6.8% - category 1
Km 168.5 - Col de Peyresourde (1 569 m) 7.1 kilometre-long climb at 7.8% - category 1
Current GC standings:CyclingQuotes.com said:The layout of the Pyrenean stages always vary a bit but almost every year there’s a big mountain stage with several mythical mountains and a downhill finish in one of the well-known Pyrenean cities. Very often climbs like the Col du Tourmalet, Col du Peyresourde and Col d’Aspin play a prominent role in that stage. Things won’t be any different in 2016 as stage 8 will send the riders up both the Tourmalet and Peyresourde on a brutally tough day that includes a total of four tough climbs. Coming one day after the first big clash in the mountains and one day before the first major mountaintop finish, the tough stage may not be won by one of the favourites but it will play a big role in the creating fatigue and potentially reveal weakness from one or more overall contenders.
The 184km stage will start in one of the most well-known Tour de France cities. Almost every year, the peloton visits the Pyrenean city of Pau which will send the riders off for stage 8. The city is located in a flat part of the country on the outskirts of the mountains and the first part of the stage will see the riders travel along flat roads in a southeasterly direction. They will have to make the most of the easy terrain as there will be no chance to recover later in the stage.
After 67km of racing, the riders will contest the intermediate sprint which is slightly uphill at an average of 3.1% for the final kilometre. Right after the sprint, they will turn east to head up the hardest climb in the Pyrenees, the legendary category HC mountain of Col du Tourmalet. It averages 7.4% over 19km and is a brutal, regular beast with a rather constant gradient. The descent leads straight to the bottom of category 2 climb of Hourquette d’Ancizan (8.2km, 4.9%).
After the descent, there is a very short valley section before the riders will tackle the category 1 climb of Col de Val Louron-Azey which averages 6.8% over 10.7km. The gradient is slightly deceptive as the first three kilometres are rather easy but from there, it rarely drops below 7%. The top comes with 36km to go and this final section is either uphill or downhill. The descent leads to the bottom of the famous category 1 climb of Col de Peyresourde which averages 7.8% over 7.1km. It’s a very regular climb with a constant gradient of 7-9%.
From the top, only 15.5km remain and they are almost all downhill. The descent is not very technical and ends at the entrance of Bagneres-de-Luchon with 2km to go. A 180-degree turn just after the 2km to go mark will be followed by no less than four turns inside the final kilometre which is completely flat. The final corner comes just 180m from the line on a 6m wide road.
The GC riders are likely to have tested each other in the first mountain stage and as there’s a real summit finish coming up, they will probably approach this stage a bit cautiously. There’s a lot of terrain to make a difference but it’s too early in the race to make any daring long-distance attacks. It’s an important day for the mountains competition and a great day for a breakaway which is likely to battle it out for the stage win. The GC riders will probably attack each other on the Col de Peyresourde to check whether one or two contenders have a bad day but with a long, non-technical descent to the finish, the main riders are likely to arrive together. This is a day when a rider is likely to lose his podium chances but it is unlikely to be a stage where the winner can make a lethal attack.
Bagneres-de-Luchon has often been visited by the race in recent years. It last happened in 2014 when Michael Rogers rode away from Thomas Voeckler, Vasil Kiryienka, Jose Serpa and Cyril Gautier on the descent of Port de Bales to win his first Tour stage. In 2012, Voeckler was again part of the action as he rode to a solo victory from a breakaway on a day when the riders also tackled the Peyresourde in the finale. Voeckler was also the best on the memorable stage in 2010 when Andy Schleck dropped his chain and Alberto Contador gained important time on his arch rival. Before that stage, the last visit was in 1998 when Rodolfo Massi won a mountain stage.
Bagneres-de-Luchon is also a regular finish at the Route du Sud, most recently in 2015 when Alberto Contador dropped Nairo Quintana on the descent from the Port de Bales to ride to a solo victory. Voeckler won a four-rider sprint in 2013 and Jurgen Van Goolen took a solo win in 2011. Two years earlier Christophe Riblon was faster than Tomasz Marczynski in a two-rider sprint.
Withdrawals Stage 7:
198 of 198 riders remain in the race - history in the making.
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