16km | 1135M+ · 15th July
After two demanding days in the saddle, only an uphill time trial stands in the way between the riders and becoming finishers of the 2018 Haute Route Alpe d’Huez.
Starting in downtown Bourg d’Oisans, riders will have just 1km to get into the rhythm of things before attacking the first of the 21 famous bends leading to the finish line in Alpe d’Huez. Marco Pantani holds the record for the ascent in a time of 37 minutes and 35 seconds, not to worry though, anything under the hour mark is considered to be a very fast time for amateur riders.
On the face of it the ascent up the 21 bends doesn’t sound to bad, 13.2km at 8.1% average gradient. However, the first 3km will have you reconsidering this as the switchbacks ramp up well above 10% before the road flattens out again slightly through La Garde. Apart from a short plateau through Ribot d’en Bas, the rest of the climb is pretty relentless and will be demanding on tired legs after two days of tough mountain stages.
Be warned, the switchbacks aren’t evenly spread out, don’t be fooled into thinking bend 10 is halfway to the summit; there is still a long way to go. Once you get into the Viel Alpe town there is only one bend left before a short downhill section through town and left hand turn on a roundabout before the final 300m ramp to the finish line.
This final section of this climb is your chance to empty the tank and give it your all as you are just moments away from becoming an Haute Route finisher. Leave it all out on the road and revel in your achievements once you cross the finish line.
The stage cols will be available soon