Monday, February 25, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

The profile says it all. After about 66km (40 miles) of gradual ascent, the real climb begins. 17,7 km climb averaging 7,5%. The top is at 2115 m, nearly 7000 feet, the second highest in the Pyrenees and, some say, the most difficult. The easy side is from Luz-Saint-Sauveur. Unfortunately, we'll be climbing the opposite one. This climb was won the first time by Alfredo Binda, in 1930. If nothing else, I'm also Italian (although that might be the only common trait).

If the Tormalet was not enough, after a long, breakneck-speed (a figure of speech, I hope) descent into the Lourdes area, the second great climb concludes the stage. According to the Tour de France site, the "climb between Lourdes and Hautacam, averaging 6.8% over 17.3 kilometres and finishing at an altitude of 1,635 metres, is one of the toughest on the Tour.

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