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TDF 2021: Stage 18, Pau > Luz Ardiden 129.7 km **Spoilers**

blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,200

Stage 18, Pau > Luz Ardiden Length 129.7 km

15-7-2021
Start 12-35pm


Stage 18, the final mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France is arguably one of the hardest days in the race, with two massive Pyrenean climbs – the Col du Tourmalet and a blockbuster finish at the top of Luz Ardiden. At 130 kilometres, the last mountain stage of the Tour de France is a relatively short one. Most uphill action is clustered inside the last 50 kilometres. The stage begins in the city that from 1930 has hosted either a start or finish on most editions: Pau



There are two small fourth category ascents in the first 54 kilometres of racing as they move in a South Easterly direction. From intermediate sprint at Pouzac, the road starts to head gentle uphill, through Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Campan and Saint-Marie-de-Campan, to the slopes of the Col du Tourmalet. The riders fly down into Luz-Saint-Sauveur to tackle the last climb of the Tour de France. The ascent into Luz-Ardiden.



The Climbs:

The Tourmalet on this side, the climb adds up to 17.1 kilometres, while the average gradient sits at 7.3%.





The second straight HC-category climb of the day to the summit of Luz Ardiden. The climb is 13.3 kilometres in length, and while the opening few hundred metres are relatively easy the climb ramps up drastically after the first kilometre.





Final Kilometres


While the stage is an open invitation to mountain goats to plan a long range attack and although in reality we probably know the answer, obviously, the key question will be: are the climbers capable to distance the better time trialists such as Pogacar and Vingegaard?
Perhaps then, this stage could be one for someone not threatening the GC, but on his day can climb like the said goat.

Favourites stage 18 Tour de France 2021

***** Tadej Pogacar
**** Richard Carapaz, Jonas Vingegaard
*** Wilco Kelderman, David Gaudu, Ben O'Connor
** Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Urán, Esteban Chaves
* Bauke Mollema, Eric Mas, Sergio Higuita, Wout Poels, Michael Woods

Pau

Stage town for the 73rd time
Population: 77,600

There's not much to say about Pau that hasn't already been said in other editions, so I won't.

On the Road

Km 0:
Jurançon (Pop: 7,100)
Jurançon is world famous for its white wines (a dry AOC in 1975 and a sweet AOC since 1936), The main grape varieties of the appellation are Petit and Gros Manseng. These wines can be discovered at the Maison du Jurançon and at the Cave du Jurançon, located in Gan.





Km 64 :
Bagnères-de-Bigorre (Pop: 7,970)

Bred in the traditional way in the undergrowth and meadows of the Bigorre area, black Noir de Bigorre pigs feed on grass, cereals, acorns and chestnuts, producing a finely-marbled pork with bags of flavour. The unique taste can also be found in its cured ham, the Noir de Bigorre, which is renowned for its soft, melt-in-the-mouth consistency.



Barèges-Gavarnie AOC sheep

Bred in the canton of Luz-Saint-Sauveur on the high slopes of the Pyrenees mountains, Barèges-Gavarnie sheep were awarded the AOC quality label in 2003. This Barégeoise breed of sheep is renowned for its high-quality, finely-marbled and flavoursome meat.






Luz Ardiden
Population: 970

The finishes in the Pyrenean resort regularly give rise to some memorable moments of bravery and excitement. In 1985, it was during the stage between Toulouse and Luz-Ardiden that the first act of the rivalry between Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond was played out. In 1990 it was Claudio Chiappucci who had a few setbacks, also wearing the Yellow Jersey. Four years later, it was in Luz-Ardiden that Richard Virenque's mountain destiny began, with a first stage victory.
During the last visit by the Tour in 2011, Samuel Sanchez won the stage before taking the polka-dot jersey in this edition, while Thomas Voeckler, who had hit a car on the descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan, nevertheless managed to keep his Yellow Jersey.














"Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
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Posts

  • No_Ta_DoctorNo_Ta_Doctor Posts: 11,187
    Anyone with polkadot dreams *needs* to get in the break today. The double point HC finishes just hand the jersey to the GC otherwise
    “Road racing was over and the UCI had banned my riding positions on the track, so it was like ‘Jings, crivvens, help ma Boab, what do I do now? I know, I’ll go away and be depressed for 10 years’.”

    @DrHeadgear

    The Vikings are coming!
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,293 Lives Here
    edited 15 July

    Anyone with polkadot dreams *needs* to get in the break today. The double point HC finishes just hand the jersey to the GC otherwise

    Was going to post something similar - I wonder of Pog is hungry enough to want to grab 3 jerseys again this Tour.


    Edit - if I were him I would - should never turn down a jersey when presented. He's got enough buffer.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,293 Lives Here
    I once did Luz Arididen after a long long day in the saddle. A "bonus" col as it was sold to me.

    Real mistake. 2/3rds of the way up we all were bonking. Turned back down to the final cornershoppy place and I remember we walked in like zombies and just started eating stuff straight off the shelf. It was like i could feel the sugar coursing through my veins, all the way to ends of my fingers and toes.

    Eventually the guy carrying the kitty shuffled over to the counter and just asked how much it all was.

    The top is really disappointing. Just a big carpark. I was sold a stunning view but it was all in cloud.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,293 Lives Here
    Anyway, no Luz Ardiden stage is complete without this photo


  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,737



    The top is really disappointing. Just a big carpark. I was sold a stunning view but it was all in cloud.

    Lovely when I was up there.Cycled over to the far side of the car park and looked out over the climb and bends I'd just come up. A nice sunny day in June.

    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Calibre Bossnut
  • blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,200

    Anyone with polkadot dreams *needs* to get in the break today. The double point HC finishes just hand the jersey to the GC otherwise

    Was going to post something similar - I wonder of Pog is hungry enough to want to grab 3 jerseys again this Tour.


    Edit - if I were him I would - should never turn down a jersey when presented. He's got enough buffer.
    The choice might be made for him, depending on how others decide to race (or not) the Tourmalet.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,293 Lives Here
    edited 15 July
    dabber said:



    The top is really disappointing. Just a big carpark. I was sold a stunning view but it was all in cloud.

    Lovely when I was up there.Cycled over to the far side of the car park and looked out over the climb and bends I'd just come up. A nice sunny day in June.

    TBH it was col 5 of the day, and as per above, I was not in a good way. Don't really know how these pros do it. Madness.
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,384
    There's an argument for finding a way of breaking up the mountains jersey from the GC somehow. I know it doesn't always go the way of the GC leader, but it's far more common (I think) than for GC / Green as a combo. Maybe that just tells a story about how to win GC of course, but it will be disappointing after an active mountains competition for it to be snuffed out by the GC juggernaut rolling through. OTOH, the GC guys have earned it too.
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,773
    When I got there I was impressed by the ski station modelled on a Yugoslavian secondary school.

    More interested in making sure that I got down again and up the valley to my hotel before it went dark because I'd taken the decision to fly to toulouse, drive to the pyrenees and then set off for my first climb at 6:30pm. In retrospect, turning it into a 50km ride with Luz Ardiden in the middle was possibly a little bit unwise.

    The last few km of the climb are stunning, and because of the above, I did it in blissful solitude. No cars, no bikes, nobody else daft enough.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,565
    edited 15 July

    Anyone with polkadot dreams *needs* to get in the break today. The double point HC finishes just hand the jersey to the GC otherwise

    Was going to post something similar - I wonder of Pog is hungry enough to want to grab 3 jerseys again this Tour.


    Edit - if I were him I would - should never turn down a jersey when presented. He's got enough buffer.
    It comes down to politics sometimes, you don't want to get too greedy and annoy the other teams (thinking of the Pantani documentary and he was told not to win another stage as he was embarassing everyone). It's possibly not good for the race if riders who are aiming for that jersey and go on the attack day in, day out to accumulate points lose out to the GC winner. Where is the incentive to attack?
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,384
    I'm clearly talking nonsense of course. Between 1970 and 2008 the GC winner didn't win the polka dots. It's just been Froome 2015 and Pogacar 2020 that have done the double recently.
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,293 Lives Here
    edited 15 July
    larkim said:

    There's an argument for finding a way of breaking up the mountains jersey from the GC somehow. I know it doesn't always go the way of the GC leader, but it's far more common (I think) than for GC / Green as a combo. Maybe that just tells a story about how to win GC of course, but it will be disappointing after an active mountains competition for it to be snuffed out by the GC juggernaut rolling through. OTOH, the GC guys have earned it too.

    I think it is a side-effect of the drastically reduced TT kilometres.

    Back in the day your pure climber would lose so much time over the TTs they would be allowed down the road to bag all the mountain points.

    Now, if you are a pure climber you are by definition a GC contender.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,758
    edited 15 July

    I once did Luz Arididen after a long long day in the saddle. A "bonus" col as it was sold to me.

    Real mistake. 2/3rds of the way up we all were bonking. Turned back down to the final cornershoppy place and I remember we walked in like zombies and just started eating stuff straight off the shelf. It was like i could feel the sugar coursing through my veins, all the way to ends of my fingers and toes.

    Eventually the guy carrying the kitty shuffled over to the counter and just asked how much it all was.

    The top is really disappointing. Just a big carpark. I was sold a stunning view but it was all in cloud.

    I did Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden and Hautacam as day 6 of my tour. I had paced myself throughout the tour for this day and found it surprisingly easy*, to expectation. So much so that I raced up the Hautacam since it was the final climb.

    Luz Ardiden is equally fugly and stunning as can be seen below. That said, it was my favourite climb of the tour. Fun descent too.

    *It will be vastly different for those racing.




    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,200
    The slavish obsession with visiting Pau hasn't helped in designing this final mountain stage.
    The obviously wanted to keep it short and punchy. I would have much preferred a stage start further East and closer to the Aspin for the extra climb.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,758

    The slavish obsession with visiting Pau hasn't helped in designing this final mountain stage.
    The obviously wanted to keep it short and punchy. I would have much preferred a stage start further East and closer to the Aspin for the extra climb.

    I dare say that Pau's monetary contribution plays a major part.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Lanterne_RogueLanterne_Rogue Posts: 3,330
    On the other hand it lets me do my Carol Decker joke every year, so I quite appreciate going back t'Pau.
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 14,006

    Anyone with polkadot dreams *needs* to get in the break today. The double point HC finishes just hand the jersey to the GC otherwise

    Was going to post something similar - I wonder of Pog is hungry enough to want to grab 3 jerseys again this Tour.


    Edit - if I were him I would - should never turn down a jersey when presented. He's got enough buffer.
    I always respected Froome for taking 12th on a sprint stage in order to win the points jersey in the Vuelta. I understand it may have annoyed a lot of people (well at least one), but it's sport and he had a chance to win and took it.

  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 4,350
    To earn the KoM jersey I feel you need to still be up there on the mountain top finishes, not roll in 20 minutes down having ambled up the final climb, but bagged points mid-stage.

    I guess it'd be hard to win the green jersey if you didn't at least compete in the end of stage sprints.
  • r0bhr0bh Posts: 1,594
    Bahrain Victorious were raided by Les Flics last night- it's just like the good old days!

    https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/police-raid-bahrain-victorious-hotel-at-tour-de-france/
  • jimmythecuckoojimmythecuckoo Posts: 4,558
    Are they starting or not do we know?

    I need to make some changes to my line up in procycling game if there is a risk to their riders' share price
  • neonriverneonriver Posts: 163
    They did the same to Arkea last year at pretty much same time and nothing happened to them
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    edited 15 July

    I once did Luz Arididen after a long long day in the saddle. A "bonus" col as it was sold to me.

    Real mistake. 2/3rds of the way up we all were bonking. Turned back down to the final cornershoppy place and I remember we walked in like zombies and just started eating stuff straight off the shelf. It was like i could feel the sugar coursing through my veins, all the way to ends of my fingers and toes.

    Eventually the guy carrying the kitty shuffled over to the counter and just asked how much it all was.

    The top is really disappointing. Just a big carpark. I was sold a stunning view but it was all in cloud.

    I did Tourmalet as part of L'etape in 2014. It started to get foggy and mizzly near the top, couldn't see sod all.

    On the descent, they had marshals posted on every corner blowing whistles, so you could hear where the corner was, as you couldn't see it!

    At the bottom in the town (sorry don't know the name) the main square was full of hundreds of riders wrapped in foil blankets suffering from hypothermia. Me and my ride buddies went to a café to warm up and have coffee as we were shaking uncontrollably.

    The course ended with a mountain top finish at Hautacam.

    then had to cycle back down the way we came to actually get to the the pasta party place etc.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 10,448
    Just reminding everyone not to take us back to those times
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 3,417
    They've obviously looked at the leader board of teams with the most surprising results for the season so far.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,471

    I once did Luz Arididen after a long long day in the saddle. A "bonus" col as it was sold to me.

    Real mistake. 2/3rds of the way up we all were bonking. Turned back down to the final cornershoppy place and I remember we walked in like zombies and just started eating stuff straight off the shelf. It was like i could feel the sugar coursing through my veins, all the way to ends of my fingers and toes.

    Eventually the guy carrying the kitty shuffled over to the counter and just asked how much it all was.

    The top is really disappointing. Just a big carpark. I was sold a stunning view but it was all in cloud.

    Did the same after climbing both Gavarnie and Troumouse. Luz Ardiden was a grovel fest.
  • No_Ta_DoctorNo_Ta_Doctor Posts: 11,187

    On the other hand it lets me do my Carol Decker joke every year, so I quite appreciate going back t'Pau.

    Carol Decker invented rap. In 1987. Which will come as something of a surprise to e.g. The Sugar Hill Gang

    “Road racing was over and the UCI had banned my riding positions on the track, so it was like ‘Jings, crivvens, help ma Boab, what do I do now? I know, I’ll go away and be depressed for 10 years’.”

    @DrHeadgear

    The Vikings are coming!
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 10,448

    larkim said:

    There's an argument for finding a way of breaking up the mountains jersey from the GC somehow. I know it doesn't always go the way of the GC leader, but it's far more common (I think) than for GC / Green as a combo. Maybe that just tells a story about how to win GC of course, but it will be disappointing after an active mountains competition for it to be snuffed out by the GC juggernaut rolling through. OTOH, the GC guys have earned it too.

    I think it is a side-effect of the drastically reduced TT kilometres.

    Back in the day your pure climber would lose so much time over the TTs they would be allowed down the road to bag all the mountain points.

    Now, if you are a pure climber you are by definition a GC contender.
    Combination of factors .

    Course design with only one uphill mountain finish and that was not a proper one in the first half of the race. Backloading the points into the third week not one can get a head start big enough

    Also I think this year it's because uae can't control [or be bothered to control] flat stages or run ins. The time gap is big enough.

    Lastly and this is the most annoying reason is the competition has been competitive. Different riders (4 roughly) are snatching up the big points off each other diluting the chance one of them has the accumulation to hold off a late surge by pogacar on the most scorey-est days . Which is annoying as it was a genuine contest that will be brushed aside if pog gets big points today and the other Kom guys are stull behind down the hill ...

    Hard to get in the break on a short stage like s18 and stay away to get a good haul of points
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,758


    Carol Decker invented rap. In 1987. Which will come as something of a surprise to e.g. The Sugar Hill Gang

    🤣🤣🤣
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 16,668
    edited 15 July
    First Tour since there founding that Ineos/Sky haven't won anything

    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
  • neonriverneonriver Posts: 163

    First Tour since there founding that Ineos/Sky haven't won anything

    What did they win in 10 and 14?
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