Monday, 12 July 2010

The Col de la Madeleine: A stunning Tour classic

As a special treat, here is an overview of tomorrow's hors categorie climb, the Col de la Madeleine.

One of the Tour classics, the Col de la Madeleine rises to an impressive 2000 meters above sea level. Since 1969 the peloton has made their way to the summit of the pass that connects the Maurienne Region in the south with the Tarentaise Valley in the north, the stunning Alpine setting is known for its mega-resorts, especially the "Trois Vale" and the Val Thorens, Méribel and Courchevel.

While the Madeleine is not one of the highest peaks of the Alps, from the starting locations

Feissons-sur-Isère (427 m) in the north and La Chambre (465 m) in the south, deep valleys surround the giant Col. An average 6.4% climb, the mountain pass is a monotonous climb that rises evenly.

Andres Gandarias (ESP) won the stage that saw its debut inclusion in the Tour back in 1969. Since then, it has been included a further 22 times, and twice has been part of a route from Morzine. Santiago Botero (COL) won when it was last included as part of a stage in 2005. With the GC being shaken prior to their rest day in Morzine, and with another mountainous stage to tackle the day after, who will be brave enough to begin their Tour battle here?

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