This mountain pass, sitting as it does between all the big baddies of the day, could possibly be the one nobody thinks about before, but never forgets afterwards. Yes, it’s not a giant climb, like the others – 403 meters of up, over 6km – but that comes out to an average of 6.8%, which is nothing to laugh at, especially when you’ve already done nearly 60 km of climbing. If I get the view below though, all will be forgotten.
This little pass has only been used once in the Tour de France, I think, but it was a memorable day. Stage 16 of the 2006 TdF was the day Floyd Landis lost the Yellow Jersey to Michael Rasmussen (man of impossibly long arms – photo below), only to win it back in incredible style the following day (an epic solo attack). Of course, that’s not the story – Landis was quickly found to have been juiced up during that stage and was later stripped of his overall win and suspended from the sport for two years, all the while proclaiming his innocence, taking donations to fight his case in court, and writing a book about it, which is an interesting read now that the good bits are known to be lies (he has since spilled the beans).
Stage 16, by the way, ended on the last climb in this year’s Etape du Tour – stay tuned!