Tour de France 2014 – Stage 11

Agnel and Izoard

Despite the fatigue, I wanted to go up – at least – the Agnel.

With 2,744 meters, this one is ranked third in Europe as far as paved, true passes go.

I.e. it’s not a dead end and it has no artificial loop around the top to make it higher, like the Bonette – only the Iseran (check) and the Stelvio (check) are higher passes…

As I did not really feel the need to cycle the Vars again, we transferred to Guillestre by car.

I could have started my ride there, but I saved myself the time and didn’t do so before Château-Queyras.

Being a little weary after yesterday’s hard hitter, I was kinda pleased that the Agnel turned out not to be as difficult as feared or expected.

Regretfully, the last kilometers were similar to the ones up the Grossglockner in 2009: the fog made it impossible to see any further than 25 – 30 meters.

We had no view whatsoever to enjoy at the summit and in the picture taken there, it looks like I’m standing in front of a wall.

Tour de France 2014 - Stage 11: Agnel

After a flying descend, we had the best and biggest sandwiches ever at la Guilazur in Ville-Vieille, after which I decided to cycle on to the Col d’Izoard.

After all, that one is less than 15 kilometers, albeit that at an average of close to 7% and a 5 kilometer stretch of 9.2%, it qualifies as a tough climb, at least for me.

Which I quickly found out on the long stretches through the valley that seemed like false flat, but which actually were hitting grades between 7% and 9% almost constantly – it’s easy to lose perspective when surrounded by giant mountains…

After I traversed the valley up to Brunissard / La Draye, I was running out of breath – and gears – on the following steep section leading up to Casse Deserte

We encountered team Sky, but they were descending. When I finally arrived at the summit, I found once again that there was nothing but a souvenir booth offering snacks, so I decided to descend immediately after shooting some pictures.

And during the descend of the Izoard, I scrapped the idea to tackle the Col de Vars from the the north. I would have to traverse the 17 or so kilometers through the Gorges to Guillestre first before arriving at that climb and frankly, I was out of energy…

So, when we arrived back at the junction with the N947, I put the bike on the Spinder and called it a day.

During the ascend of the Vars, we met team Sky again and we were briefly held up by a large flock of sheep crossing the road.

Trip: 77.1 kilometers / 2,404 meters elevation gain (Garmin).

Tour de France 2014 - Stage 11: Izoard

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