Col D’Izoard
Photo credit: ASO/A.Broadway

For the creation of the “Route du Tour” label, which is intended to become a reference especially for amateur cyclists measuring themselves against the Grande Boucle’s mountain roads, the climb up the Col d’Izoard was heralded by several prestigious patrons.

History and a new label come together for “Route du Tour” – They are not merely roads like any others. The history of the Tour de France has been built on the tarmac on which the riders sweat, struggle, shake and dream.

“The climb up the Col d’Izoard in 1975 was my biggest thrill,” confided Bernard Thévenet to Romain Bardet when encouraging him to get to grips for the first time with this out-of-the-ordinary-ascent, in a training context for the moment. This chance meeting of some of the sport’s giants made for an elegant launch to the “Route du Tour” label, which this year will be assigned to three climbs on the programme for the 2017 edition: the Planche des Belles Filles, the Col de Peyra Taillade pass and also the Col d’Izoard. On these roads, signposting bearing the distinctive stamp of the Tour de France will be especially aimed at the many amateur cyclists who come to tackle the prestigious climbs on the Grande Boucle.

The Tour de France and the Col d’Izoard – Belgian Philipe Thys was the first Tour de France rider to reach the summit in 1922. Since then, the Tour de France has climbed this pass, which owes its mythical status to the lunar-like landscape found at the point named Casse Déserte, 33 times. The leading climbers of the pack such as Coppi (1949-1951), Bahamontes (1958-1962) or Merckx (1972) have tamed it by reaching the summit in the lead. However, nobody has ever won a stage there. For the first time on 20 July, the Col d’Izoard will host a finish, on the 18th stage of the Tour de France. This unprecedented stage climax at the summit of the pass calls to mind those on the Col de l’Aubisque in 2007, the Col du Tourmalet in 2010 or the Col du Galibier in 2011.

Etape du Tour: become part of the legend – Giving the chance to experience the mythical Grande Boucle on the same roads and in the same conditions as the professional riders on the Tour de France is the promise that has been kept by the Etape du Tour since 1993.

This year, the challenge for 15,000 amateur cyclists from 72 different countries will be historical. On 16 July 2017, they will be heading up the Col d’Izoard for an unprecedented altitude finish (2,360m), four days before the pros.

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