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Video: "Crazy" - Mike Cotty previews next year's short but brutal Tour de France stage in the Pyrenees

Stage 17 will cover just 65 kilometres - but there are three cols to get up, including the finish on the Portet

Stage 17 of next year’s Tour de France promises to be an absolute cracker – covering just 65 kilometres, it has a height gain of 3,000 metres and features three climbs with the final one, the Col de Portet, making its debut in the race and said by some to be the toughest ascent ever in the race.

Mike Cotty of the Col Collective is based in the Pyrenees and went out at the end of October to recce the route of a stage that will see attacking riding from the word go and which forms part of a final week which he believes could be “one of the best finishes of the Tour ever.”

> Route of 2018 Tour de France unveiled in Paris (+ video)

Here’s what he said:

Now mountains in the final week may not come as much of a surprise, but what did catch our eye (along with the rest of the cycling world) is the hyper-dynamic Stage 17, starting in Bagnères-de-Luchon with the Montée de Peyragudes, Col de Val Louron-Azet and the all new Col de Portet on the menu.

Three climbs back to back with over 3,000 metres elevation gain and all in just 65 kilometres! That’s right 65 km from start to finish … crazy days!

With autumn quickly taking hold and the first dusting of snow on the higher peaks, I’ll be honest I never have a problem getting motivated for a big day in the mountains but with such an incentive so close to home there’s no way I could get to sleep until I’d checked it out, especially as this will be the first time the Col de Portet has ever featured in the race, and at 2,215 metres in height it’s 100 metres higher than the legendary Col du Tourmalet. What a finish!

Having ridden and raced for over 25 years, these are the types of stages that really excite me. Short, explosive from the gun, nowhere to hide. Just the mountains to conquer and a million fans lining the road all the way. What could be better? I for one hope that this is the start of a new era of this type of stage within the Grand Tours.

Vital statistics

Start: Bagnères-de-Luchon

Distance: 65km

Highest point: 2,215m

Elevation gain: 3,126m

Max gradient: 13 per cent.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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iandon | 6 years ago

Brilliant!    I have just got to have a crack at that ride.  Can't wait to see the stage.

efail | 6 years ago

The 'local' word, for the rough bits, is that they are going to resurface it. They did the same for the Luchon side of Port de Bales a few years ago, when that had become pretty bad, and now it's a Tour classic.

kil0ran | 6 years ago

Booking Wednesday July 25th off work now, that's going to be epic. Froome cracked on the Peyresourde last year (which was also the scene of Bottlegate). And that's all in the first 15kms of this stage. Can't wait.

DrJDog | 6 years ago

Those tights! Bit sheer for my liking.

captain_slog | 6 years ago

Awesome. Looks stunning but I wouldn't fancy that gravel.

I liked the way the French commentary and the helicopter kept fading in on the soundtrack - that really whets the appetite for July. And the handlebar-cam shots of the descents: more of that, please.

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