Sorry for the double post today. Blame it on the ASO for announcing everything at once.
The Etape du Tour for 2014 will be in the Pyrenees once again (last time was a 200 km+ doozy…my fingers are still a little numb) and is going to be an exact replica of Stage 18 of the 2014 Tour de France. The route is 145 km long, which should attract a lot of riders since it’s under the magic ‘Century’ distance. The first 70 km look troublesome to me because of all that ‘flat’ – it should be furiously fast.
Then comes Tourmalet, which I climbed (but in the opposite direction) in the 2012 Etape du Tour, but have nearly no memory of. I was in a fog of both my own misery and, well, fog. It was just a horrible day in the mountains that day. I’m looking forward to giving it one more shot.
The stage finishes on top of Hautacam, which I know virtually nothing about, but I can tell from the profile that it looks a little steep.
Logistics are always a problem with the Etape du Tour, but this year the end is not too far from the start (around 70 km, or 1 hour, taking the autoroute). You can’t know how great that is till you try and work out the many hassles around ‘getting home’ yourself.
I am working on my wish list for 2014, but I think this one should be on it. Anyone care to join the fun?
Registrations start (and possibly finish) on November 12th.
23 thoughts on “Etape du Tour 2014: July 20th (Pau – Hautacam)”
Gerry, yoi know i will be there for my third go around one way or the other.
I was there 2 years ago as you know and i too have no memory of the scenery around me. I had to watch the pros ride it 3 days later to see what i missed. Looking forward to it.
The date of July 20th seems awfully late compared to other years.
Pierre, I’m going to make a big effort to make it. The only glitch I can see right now is that it’s the same day as the arrival of the Tour in Nimes. Am I a fan or a cyclist? Must answer that question first!
Yeah, the 20th is a little late, you’re right.
Who thought up that schedule?
Well, that’s just over 4200m climbing: http://www.strava.com/routes/55191
Thanks, Karsten. That’s a pretty good amount of climbing. I think a Triple Ventoux is around the same, so yeah. That’s about enough for one day, I’d say!
The route is very similar to the 2008 Etape du Tour, which saw a major roaring rain and thunder storm the night before and a frozen cold final ascent up the Hautacam where shivering cyclists (those that could continue) were wrapped in emergency blankets. I’ve done this route and these climbs many times, and it’s not an easy one. The loop route from Lourdes around the Tourmalet and back (side stepping up the Hautacam), is a must-do ride in the Pyrenees, and this stage is one that the Tour riders have done many times. The Hautacam is one of my favorite climbs, with the eastern side of the Tourmalet the classic approach; together with the long (but fast) warm-up from Pau they make the perfect route for an Etape. Go early or stay after, because if you are in the area you won’t want to miss climbing the Col du Soulor and the Col d’Aubisque or Luz Ardiden – all nearby the Tourmalet/Hautacam. Good luck!
Great overview, Karen. Thanks a lot! I feel a little embarrassed that I don’t know the Pyrenees better. If the damn sun would come out when I ride there it’d help matters, mind you!
Are you coming over for the Tour this year, by the way?
Well as of this morning, I am thinking of renting a van and hauling you all over the place – to and from the Etape, and up and down my favorite climbs in the area. If you are a lover of Ventoux, you will ooh and awe over the Aubisque, it is spectacular from the saddle. I can decide for you – between watching the stage in Nimes or doing the Etape …Etape! The day after your event, take a rest day with a local ride and a good full meal, then ride yourself to the top of the Port de Balès for Stage 16 of the TDF, and if you can to Plat d’Adet for Stage 17 (uh-oh the Col d’Aspin and Hourquette d’Ancizan are so close), now that you are still in the area you might as well stay for Stage 18 and ride the reverse direction of the Tourmalet to see the riders come over the top and compare their speed to your own. I can go on and on like this …. Do you have a van?
I don’t have a van, but that can easily be remedied!
Ahh, more interest in the Pyrenees surfacing?
hum, would love to conquer this with you Gerry. Who knows, I have a conference in Barcelona the week before…
Jan, if you did it that’d seal the deal for me, for sure.
Rob, are you reading this? Wouldn’t be the same without you!
Room booked just in case we decided to do it. Not sure yet though
Great. Which hotel?
Ride or watch … which day are you going to remember in a few years? Ride…
Good question and answer Suze!
Is that a trick question? The answer, given the state of my memory, is ‘neither’!
That looks like a doer from here, actual date pending! Fingers crossed.
What actual date, Stevo? I think it’s set now.
Hello Gerry, with logistics in mind if you fail to get accommodation at either the start or finish points Lourdes could be a good option, it’s a pretty quick drive to Pau and an easy freewheel ride back down from the summit . It’ll save you from all that back and forth driving and coach traveling.
Andrew, thanks for the tip. I was thinking about Lourdes as well. They surely have no lack of hotels! My trouble is that I don’t have a driver usually, so I need to be near the start, just in case. I have a hotel booked now right in Pau (thanks Anne!), so all should be good.
Are you doing the Etape?
Hello Gerry, congrats on your pautel reservation, staying at the starting locale is always the first choice even when there,s no shortage of willing or able drivers.
Hello again,i’ve just seen your question,i am in the maybe camp.