Étape du Tour 2017 Briançon-Col de l’Izoard
On Sunday, July, 16th, you will be facing a great challenge with the 2017 Étape du Tour.
Entrants will ride a tough 178km / 3 529m+ route between Briançon and the Col d’Izoard (2360m high, 14,1km with a 7,3% average gradient), including the Col de Vars (2109m high, 9,3km with a 7,5% average gradient). Not to forget the first climb of the day: Côte des Demoiselles Coiffées. Your overall fitness will be critical for this challenging, but beautiful cyclosportive. You will never forget the Casse Déserte landscape during the Col d’Izoard climb!
I think we can split the Étape du Tour into three segments : the first one will be fast, on a large and open road, before to start climbing to Embrun and the first difficulty of the day with the Côte des Demoiselles Coiffées, and the road overlooking the Serre-Ponçon lake. The second part, after the lake, will lead riders to an exhausting valley that will end at the bottom of the Col de Vars. The last part will allow entrants to experience two difficulties that are on the bucket list for many cyclists around the world: Vars and Izoard. It is critical to keep some energy for this part as the final is brutal! Gradients will keep increasing until you have reached the summit.
The beginning of the stage is quite fast, with a descending profile, and you will have to be cautious to avoid crashes. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of options to make the difference later during the day! Arriving at Embruns, you will encounter several small climbs that will help waking up your legs, before to enter the first difficulty at Savines-le-Lac. After a left turn, the Côte des Demoiselles Coiffées will start, with a beautiful, yet difficult, 8km, 5-7% climb. The strongest riders will start to make a difference there At the top of the Côte des Demoiselles, the feed zone will be welcome and you should take enough time to refuel and save some energy for the second part of the day !
The second part will start with the Lac de Serres-Ponçon, and the long climb toward the Vallée de l’Ubaye. After going through Barcelonnette and Jausier, you will arrive at the bottom of the Col de Vars. Don’t lose too much energy during this long valley, it is harder than it looks. You definitely need to eat and drink a lot to be ready for the last part of the ride.
The Col de Vars will be an appetizer for the end of the day: the climb is first gentle, and will get harder for the last 5 kilometers, with gradients that are not too far from 10%. The top of Col de Vars is at kilometer 129 and is followed by a long downhill towards Guillestre, and then the bottom of Col de l’Izoard, via a narrow and hot valley. Again a segment where you need to stay lucid enough not to forget to eat and drink enough, this will be your last opportunity to make sure you have enough energy for the brutal Col d’Izoard.
When it comes to your gearing options, play it safe! In case of hot weather, you might need to keep high frequency to keep oxygen flowing in the legs and avoid cramps in the last climb. 34x32 could be the perfect gearing. Riders who will privilege comfort in the climbs could chose the Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL wheels, for a very light option. Those who are coming
Let’s meet on July, 16th for an unforgettable day in this gorgeous landscape!