Hautacam, stage 18
There are sure to be some tired legs in the peloton after stage 17 but there’s little letup on stage 18. In fact, it’s the Queen Stage of the 2014 Tour de France, featuring the Col du Tourmalet and a summit finish on the Hautacam.
The stage, which is also being used for this year’s Etape du Tour sportive, starts in Pau, the town synonymous with Pyrenean mountain stages, and after going over two minor category three ascents, tackles the infamous 17.1km, 7.3 per cent climb of the Tourmalet.
Then comes the Hautacam – the final mountain test of this year’s edition of the race and a climb which first featured in the 1994 Tour. It’s a vicious ascent, 13.6km long at an average of 7.8 per cent, though the road regular rises at a gradient of nine and ten per cent. Any climber wanting to make gains before Paris will need to do so here.
For the rest of us, it’s a stunning road to ride, offering vast views of the Pyrenees – though that’s unlikely to take away from the suffering.
Category: hors categorie
Average gradient: 7.8 per cent
Maximum gradient: ten per cent