Kicking off the final week of Le Tour this year is another stage that teases the Alps, riding over the 3 mountains that surround the city of Grenoble: Chartreuse, Belledonne and Vercors. The stage is being billed as one for a breakaway, given the brutal finish of tomorrow’s on the Col de la Loze (block your afternoon!).
I rode right through the Chartreuse two years on my birthday bikepacking trip with old friend Karsten and have climbed the Col de Porte, which is the main difficulty in these hills for the peloton.
They then drop down and skirt Grenoble to the east, riding through some hills I’ve seen many times on the way to Alpe d’Huez, but haven’t gotten into them yet – Belledonne.
Finally, there is a last climb into my new favorite place in France – the Vercors. I’ve been up there a number of times now, hiking and biking, and it’s just a little jewel of a mountain massif.
It’s a tricky stage because anyone who attacks on this final climb up to the Vercors will have 20 km more to stay away before the finish at Villard-de-Lans Côte 2000, a little ski station, another 2km up after they fly through Villard.
Here I go with predictions again, but I would say that a small group gets away on the main climb, stays away, and someone like Julian Alaphilippe or wonderkid Marc Hirschi wins the stage. Otherwise it’s Thomas De gendt…because that’s always a good bet.