23 cols of first, second and “hors catégorie” need to be climbed in the 2017 Tour de France. Not as many as last years but some of them are very steep, at least, on short stretches:
Planche des Belles Filles up to 20%, Col du Grand Colombier up to 22%, Mont du Chat up to 15%, Peyragudes up to 16%, Mur de Péguère up to 18% and the Col de Peyra Taillade up to 14%. Small gear may come in handy now and then.
During its very unpredictable itinerary, the Tour takes on all the five big French mountain ranges: the Vosges (1), Jura (6), Central Massif (2) and, as usual the Pyrenees (8) and the Alps (6 cols). The Alps will get the decisive stages, with classic rides over the Croix de Fer and Télégraphe to arrive after the top of the Galibier, and one over another giant, the Col de Vars to arrive, for the first time in Tour history, on the “Casse Déserteé of the Col d’Izoard.
But we start in the North with a first for three top arrivals on the Planche des Belles Filles, a climb in the Vosges just recently discovered by the Tour. Next, it goes to the beautiful Jura mountains with an arrival at the Station des Rousses and one at Chambery after the steep and difficult Col de la Biche, Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat. Very nice and interesting stage that one!
During the first rest day, the Tour caravan moves to the east side of France. After some flat stages, the Pyrenees come within sight. Only two climb stages await the riders there. From Pau, it goes over the beautiful hairpins of the Col de Menté and the Port de Bales, one of our favorite Pyrenees cols, to the Peyragudes station after crossing the Col de Peyresourde. On the Fête National, there is a short but heavy stage over the Col d’Agnes (another favorite!) and the Mur de Péguère to arrive in Foix.
After the mid mountain range of the Central Massif with the already mentioned Col de Peyra Taillade we arrive at the Alps for the final difficulties of this disorientating Tour.