Tuesday Map: Climb the Pyrenees without breaking a sweat

This year’s Tour de France may not featured doped-up American stars, but it’s pretty exciting nonetheless. It’s anyone’s guess who will win this year, and that infuses every stage with drama. One climb in particular could decide this year’s race, the hors catégorie Port de Balès toward the end of next Monday’s stage 15. VeloNews ...

By , a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
600516_070717_tdf_05.jpg
600516_070717_tdf_05.jpg

This year's Tour de France may not featured doped-up American stars, but it's pretty exciting nonetheless. It's anyone's guess who will win this year, and that infuses every stage with drama. One climb in particular could decide this year's race, the hors catégorie Port de Balès toward the end of next Monday's stage 15. VeloNews calls the 19-km uphill slog "frightening," noting that the last 10 kilometers have "an average grade of almost 10 percent and a maximum pitch of 14 percent." The Port de Balès, which is 1775 meters high, has never been part of the Tour before.

This year’s Tour de France may not featured doped-up American stars, but it’s pretty exciting nonetheless. It’s anyone’s guess who will win this year, and that infuses every stage with drama. One climb in particular could decide this year’s race, the hors catégorie Port de Balès toward the end of next Monday’s stage 15. VeloNews calls the 19-km uphill slog “frightening,” noting that the last 10 kilometers have “an average grade of almost 10 percent and a maximum pitch of 14 percent.” The Port de Balès, which is 1775 meters high, has never been part of the Tour before.

Somebody in the Netherlands was kind enough to create a Google Earth map (KML) of the Tour’s route, so we can get a better sense what the Port de Balès looks like. And wow, is it daunting:

You can also check out a YouTube video of an amateur French cyclist exploring the route on his own last fall. As the pros attack this killer climb on Monday, it’ll be interesting to monitor the riders’ heart rates with this live Google mashup map of the tour.

(Hat tip: Google Earth Blog)

Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.

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