20-04-2017, CANYON Trinities, Part 3
A Grand Tour packed into a day's racing, so the saying goes of cycling's oldest Monument. "La Doyenne" is proof that the best climbers do not always have to wait for the high mountains for their chance to shine. What the Ardennes lack in elevation, they more than make up for in the number of roads that take the most direct route out of steep, forested valleys. Rhythm is not a word that comes to mind when climbing these Côtes with their double digit gradients. A violent effort to reach the summit, followed by the briefest respite before the next test arrives.
On La Rédoute it is imossible to escape the battles previously fought, the names of heroes immortalised on the road and a monument at its summit for revolutionary forces who once triumphed. While La Côte de la Roche aux Faucons lacks the heritage of its peers, the challenge it poses and its position so late in the race add to the palpable tension of the finale. Finally, La Côte du Stockeu, althought not in this year's parcours, for years it provided a springboard to the Cannibal's most swashbuckling long-range raids. A trinity of climbs that has shaped "La Doyenne."