Cycling fans everywhere are looking forward to the Alpe d’Huez mountain-top finish on July 22. Not only is it a crazy-short road stage at 110k (68m), but it really consists of just the Telegraph-Galibier climb, the subsequent descent, followed by the 21-switchback suffer-fest to the finish line.
The short distance and course profile are enough already to ensure stage 19 will be an epic day at the races. But let’s add on three more factors: it will be the last mountain day of the race, the stage comes just two days out from the Paris finish, AND the only individual time trial of the Tour is the following day, Saturday, in nearby Grenoble. Ouch!
Our plans for the day include a morning ride on the course up to the finish, with a lovely luncheon course-side at a 3-star hotel about 600 meters before the finish. We’ll bring a change of clothes up since there are hot showers available, then replace the burned calories while watching the incoming peleton on live TV. As they get closer, you’ll have to decide if you’d prefer to watch the race arrive from one of the hotel balconies or out on the roadside. Once the epic stage is in the history books, we fly off in our helicopter, arriving back at our own comfortable hotel in time for dinner.
As if days like this aren’t enough to make a trip worthwhile, our visionary friends at Rudy Project have chipped in with a special package for all 2011 Alps-to-Paris guests: a $250 credit good towards any sunglass or merchandise item!