Stage 18 Of The Tour de France Is Some Kind Of Sick Joke
I just realized that the Tour de France has been underway for nearly three weeks -- it began on July 5 and we've only just completed Stage 18, with three more to go. Even the best HBO series only go 12 episodes, max. I can now understand why cyclists take steroids -- you need them just to stay alive.
Tour de France riders will have covered 2,088 miles when it's all over, which is insane. I'm exhausted after going to the grocery store and the bank in the same day ... in a car. But these cyclists have to climb mountains, as the Tour de France is the only sporting event to require skin-tight pants and a map of the Alps.
So someone last year looked over the course and said, "Not difficult enough." And so the Montvernier Laces were added, in which riders have to climb 17 hairpin turns on a secluded road in the mountains of southeastern France. A guy who biked it describes the route:
There are 17 hairpins (lots of publications say 18, but one is questionable and off in its own #hairpinpolice). The 17 hairpins all come in a stretch of roughly 2.5 kilometres. That’s a hairpin every 150 metres. The road is narrow, the hairpins sharp, and large vehicles are forbidden. It’s a steady incline, roughly 8% average.
That actually makes it sound less daunting than photos suggest -- it's the kind of thing, when first viewed, that would make Julius Caesar say "*&%@! it" and turn back toward Rome. Not that that ever happened -- the road was completed in 1934.
So Romain Bardet of France won the stage -- the first Tour de France stage victory of his career and no wonder: there can be no bigger home field advantage than this insanity. Chris Froome of Britain maintains the overall lead.
Please form an orderly queue:
— Cyclingnews.com (@Cyclingnewsfeed) July 23, 2015