Since 2014, the Tour de France has leveraged its fame and know-how to support women’s cycling by organising La Course, a prestigious event for the world elite, which has been held three times on the Champs-Élysées finishing circuit in Paris.
The fourth edition will send the ladies on a mountain quest: just a few hours before the men’s peloton, they will light the first fireworks in the final 66 kilometres of the stage from Briançon to the Izoard.
Sprinters will be nowhere to be seen on the final ascent, described by Jacques Goddet as “[a] harrowing trial which establishes the boundary between difficult and terrifying”.
The girls will bring back memories of riders such as Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet and Bernard Thévenet as they tackle the 10 kilometres leading to Casse Déserte, which boast an average gradient of over 9%.
The Col d’Izoard has featured 34 times in the history of the Tour de France, but will host its first summit finish in that time in the 104th edition. The amateur event L’Etape du Tour will also finish on the Izoard as thousands of riders take on the stage 18 parcours.
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2017 col d’Izoard l'etape du tour la course Tour de France women cycling