If you watched Stage 20 of the 2015 Tour de France—it was about as exciting as they come!
When Tom, Bryon, Matt, and I create our profiles for the ICA Tour de France package weeks before the race, we obviously have no idea what will be happening. It’s very cool when we come close! Understanding the makeup of the Tour stages and the rivalries in the peloton helps, but you never know what will become of some riders who will crash or get ill, or who may claw their way to the top despite all odds.
As it turns out, my Stage 20 description on Alpe d’Huez played out fairly similar to what actually happened—how cool is that?! I described two domestiques working very hard for their team leader, who is in the yellow jersey. A few kilometers from the top, they drop away exhausted, having done their work like the champions they are. Their yellow-jerseyed team leader rides on ahead to battle his opponents and maintain his lead. The profile continues focusing on the two domestiques, joyful as they cross the finish line.
What happened in today’s stage was lining up to be an epic battle since day one. Having Alpe d’Huez on the penultimate day guaranteed that the top riders of the GC (general classification) would be attacking each other to the very end.
Nairo Quintana (#2 in the GC), the young Colombian rider of Team Movistar (he will take the best young rider white jersey) had no choice but to attack Chris Froome at the bottom of Alpe d’Huez; his only chance to eat away at the 2:38 advantage that Froome had over him. He had two teammates who helped him by attacking his rivals and by pacing him up the Alpe. One was Alejandro Valverde and the other was Winner Anacona (yes, that’s really his name! Read about the Colombian here). Froome was guided up the Alpe by his right-hand man, Richie Porte, who peeled off about 2 km from the top after giving everything he had to his team leader. Froome then went on to try to limit the damage caused by Quintana and Valverde. Froome keeps the yellow jersey, but Valverde pipped him at the finish line. It’s a close one; Froome is heading to Paris with only a 1:12 lead ahead of Quintana. They will share the podium with Valverde, who ended up in third place. (We Americans are so sad that Teejay Van Garderen dropped out a few days ago due to illness. Teejay may have finished the Tour on the podium in third place!)
So that is the drama going on between the “Heads of State,” but don’t forget, a Frenchman won today’s stage! Thibeau Pinot was one of the few remaining riders from an earlier breakaway and managed to hold on until the end. He had a disastrous early Tour but redeemed himself on the most iconic climb of the Tour.
For more on the action, here’s a play-by-play of the end of the Stage. Steephill.tv has some more articles and videos of all the stages.
If you are creating your own stage profiles, take that description above to set up an exciting and dramatic Stage 20 profile. Or, if you prefer to have most of the work done for you, simply modify my Stage 20 in the ICA Tour de France package to include some of the actual players in today’s action.
Because so many teammates of both Froome and Quintana turned themselves inside out on the earlier monster climb, the Col de la Croix de Fer, and finished near the back of the peloton (and also because this has been one of the toughest Tours in memory), you can also use the profile I created for WSSC back in 2005 called Alpe d’Huez: One Man’s Journey From Suffering to Triumph. It’s a dramatic description of a domestique who fears not finishing the stage, after having worked incredibly hard for his team leader. This very detailed, emotional, and climactic profile is available in the 2011 Tour de France package.
More Resources For an Exciting Class
Click here for some fun information of this iconic mountain, L’Alpe d’Huez.
Here is a video that can help you set the stage for a dramatic class. It is from the riders’ perspective as they climb, and then descend the Croix de Fer, and then as they ride through the Dutch Corner about halfway up the Alpe d’Huez. Imagine yourself as one of these riders…how surreal would this be?!
The video below isn’t from the Tour, but it is about the climb to the Col de la Croix de Fer. It’s actually the direction they climbed for Stage 18, not the opposite way they came up for Stage 20. But it shows the beauty and immense challenge of these epic climbs in the Alps.
What Do Pro Riders Eat?
A fun topic to share with your riders during your Tour stages is what, and how much, riders must eat during the 21 days of the Tour. Here is a description of two different approaches of chefs of pro teams. Here is another with the chef of Tinkoff-Saxo.
Like the piece.in our spinning indoorcycle session during the autumn/winter months we focus like pro’s on the basics. Endurance, strength, speed. As the cyclo-cross and spring classics start we have the profile and Base our sessions around this. It gives variety to all. We are also lucky to be able to ride in some great landscape and record on Gopro for some special classes. Current project is the giro. Upcoming is the Tour de France