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Etape du Tour 2024 Climbs

Etape du tour 2024 profile

Etape du Tour 2024 – 138km with 4600m of climbing

It doesn’t look flat for a single kilometre, so you are either climbing or descending. There might be a couple of flat (ish) kms before the final climb but I’ll probably be wishing that it was going down at that point of the race. The route is considered (relatively) low in altitude which should remove any major reduced oxygen struggle – Oxygen is roughly 17% at it’s highest point (Col de la Couillole 1678) compared to 20.9% at sea level, which is a 19% reduction. That sounds a lot, but most trained individuals don’t really feel any affect from altitude below 1900m. Of course, it all depends on each person’s physiology and fitness, but there will be a big difference compared to when the Etape finished in Val Thorens  in 2019, which topped out at 2365m. Oxygen level at that altitude is roughly 15.4%, which is a a 26% reduction compared to sea level. 

I think the potential bigger problem will be the heat. Average July temperatures in Nice are 30°C, where in the alps, somewhere like Briancon the average high is 25 °C. If the forecast is due to be hot, it’s  always best to get out there a good few days before and make your body work (and therefore sweat) in the heat. Obviously be very careful to replace any fluids lost etc. 

Overall this route is no soft touch to say the least. It’s very similar to the stats from the 2019 Etape in which most riders agreed that it was a very tough edition. So how do you survive? The key, as always, is pacing it right on the climbs. 

You can still ride the 2024 with us as we have both entry only and accommodation with entries still available or you can sign up to be the first to hear about 2025. 

Climb 1 - Col de Braus

Height 1002m – 10km at 6.6% (although our Strava Segment is a little shorter)

Col de Braus is the first categorised climb. It will be a good warm up at 6.6% average and features some excellent switchbacks. ⁠They look as good as any we’ve ridden. I’d be riding this much slower than I wanted to and if the opportunity arises try to have a chat with someone. That will stop you going faster than you should. This climb is about easing into it, not pushing hard and not sweating too hard either. It’s a climb to enjoy. so take your time, enjoy the switchbacks and remember that this is exactly where you want to be. 

Climb 2 - Col de Turini

Height 1607m – 20.7km at 5.7% (although our Strava Segment is 3km longer)

2nd categorised climb of the 2024 Etape du Tour. This is long but does include some flat/downhill for around 4km. This might explain why we have it over 3km longer than the official profile. Average when going up is 5.7%, so we think patience is the key as it could be so tempting to push too hard. Probably best to decide on what power or heart rate or like me, perceived effort you are going to maintain beforehand and stick to it! ⁠

There is a feedstop roughly halfway up, so don’t think twice about getting more supplies or taking a break there. Also look out for Notre-Dame de la Menour and the staircase that spans the road that a couple of kms before the feed. 

Climb 3 - Col de la Colmiane

Height 1500m – 7.5km at 7.1% (although you are actually going up hill for 20.4km)

The official climb stats don’t really give the whole picture, as they have it starting in Saint-Martin Vesuble. We’ve realised that it’s pretty much climbing after the Turini descent (with some very short sections of descent) which means that it’s a 20.4 km climb with a total of 1058m of ascent, with only the top 7.5km at 7.1% being categorised. The 12km before the recognised climb is at a low gradient generally between 3 or 4 %. Normally if you are feeling good, this can be big ring territory but with the final and perhaps toughest climb still to come, I’d be looking to share the work with some other wheels and again bide my time until the roads steepens. 

If you prefer to see the segment only as the  categorised section click below

Climb 4 - Col de la Couillole

Height 1678m – 15.7km at 7.1% 

FINAL CLIMB! It’s a summit finish, so if you’ve made it this far you will finish 🎉. 15.7km at 7.1% is going to hurt so my advice is do whatever you have to do to get up there and keep telling yourself…at least it isn’t the Joux Plane (11.7km at 8.5%) from last year as that one really, really stings! 

In 2019, I was turning complete squares going up to Val Thorens. I was completely spent, the more I tried the push on the pedals the more I cramped up. I still made it just by being patient and ignoring everything else that was going on around me. I had to get off the bike a couple of times to release the cramp. Then when I got back on the bike it was hardly moving, I was in my lowest gear barely turning it. But I was still moving, that’s the main thing. If you are moving you will get there eventually. Good luck and enjoy! 

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