The 2022 Tour de France continues it’s run through the Pyrenees with a short yet brutal 129.7km route over the mountains from Saint-Gaudens to Peyragudes on stage 17.
Yesterday’s stage 16 was a poignant win for Hugo Houle, who dedicated victory to brother who was killed by a drunk driver in 2012. Houle made winning a stage victory of the Tour de France – the race he and his brother used to love watching together growing up in Canada – his primary career goal and dedicated the past 10 years to that single moment.
Today’s stage is expected to last under four hours and these shorter stages tend to encourage more attacks, especially from the stronger climbers and general classification riders – race organisers hope to see a real showdown between the big stars at the finish.
The categorised climbs culminate atop Peyragudes which could potentially host a battle for crucial yellow jersey seconds at the finish with the likes of Tadej Pogacar, Geraint Thomas and Jonas Vingegaard all determined to lay down a historic stage victory.
The route is almost never flat, with a gradual incline towards an early intermediate sprint at 33km where the man in the green jersey, Wout van Aert, doesn’t need any more points but might race up the road to collect them all the same. From an advanced position he could offer the man in yellow, teammate Jonas Vingegaard, support later in the day on the fastest technical descents.
After the sprint the road tilts up gradually further to the base of the category one Col d’Aspin (12km length, 6.5% gradient), a familiar Tour de France climb which will drain any weary legs and no doubt whittle down the peloton.
A short downhill stretch over the top leads straight into the