Iconic climbs of the Tour de France 2021
The Tour de France begins on Saturday 26th June 2021 in Brest. Find out more about the biggest and best climbs that feature along this year’s route.
Let’s be honest: the most exciting stages of the Tour de France happen in the mountains. Riders and teams begin to ride tactically and the jersey contests become a lot more nail biting. Most of all though, we like to imagine ourselves riding the very same climbs as the pros with some of you going as far as planning cycling holidays around the spectacular climbs of the Tour de France.
When watching the mountain stages this year, look out for Team Movistar, Team Arkea Samsic and Alpecin-Fenix as they ride themselves around the Tour de France route from the French cities of Brest to Paris on their trusted Canyon Aeroad, Canyon Ultimate and Canyon Speedmax bikes.
From Saturday 26th July 2021, we’ll be cheering for Enric Mas of Team Movistar as he chases the yellow jersey having won the Young Rider jersey at the 2020 Vuelta a España. Nairo Quintana has many top-10s to his name on all three of the major Grand Tours and he’s known as one of the world’s best climbers.
Stage 7 | Vierzon - Le Creusot: Signal d’Uchon
Riders are unlikely to have given their little chainrings much of a workout until they reach the small but mighty ascent of the Signal d’Uchon in the south east corner of the Morvan Regional Natural Park. Making its debut in the 2021 Tour de France, the 5.7 km climb has a sting in its tail with the final two kilometres averaging 9.4% and 13.1% respectively with a maximum gradient of 18%. As the longest stage of the entire race (and indeed the longest stage in 21 years) at 248 km between Vierzon and Le Creusot, we’re expecting a fierce battle for the polka dots before the race heads into the Alps.
Stage 8 | Oyonnax - Le Grand Bornand: Col de la Colombière
First featured in the Tour de France in 1960, the Col de la Colombiere is making an appearance for a 23rd time in the race. From Scionzien where the riders will begin the climb, the 16.3 km pass averages 6.8% and unfortunately for the peloton, it gets steeper as they climb. As the first stage in the Alps proper, we’re already on the edge of our seats in anticipation of the fireworks that’ll signify the start of the mountains.
Stage 9 | Cluses - Tignes: Montée de Tignes
Summit finishes are a sight to behold as riders launch attacks on streets usually lined with fans urging their favourites to dig deep and grind their way to a stage win. A huge day in the saddle awaits the peloton as they wind their way up Col du Pre, the Cormet de Roseland and finally Montée de Tignes. If you cast your mind back to the 2019 edition of the race, you might remember a freak landslide upsetting proceedings on the descent into Tignes. Well, this year sees riders ascend the very same 21 km stretch of tarmac. Stage 9 will be the first opportunity for the general classification riders to use their legs in the mountains.
Stage 11 | Sorgues - Malaucène: Mont Ventoux
The ‘Giant of Provence’ is back under the wheels of the Tour de France peloton in 2021. After Chris Froome swapped his wheels for his running shoes following a collision with a motorbike in 2016, we’re prepping our popcorn in anticipation of another dramatic stage up Mont Ventoux in 2021. The route for stage 11 includes the first ever double ascent of the Bald Mountain. The first ascent begins up the longest but most gentle side of the mountain from Sault after which riders descend into Malaucène, skirt the foothills of Ventoux before enduring their final ascent from Bédoin. It’ll be a nerve-wracking final 20 km as riders showcase their descending skills before reaching the finish line in the now familiar town of Malaucène.
Stage 15 | Céret - Andorra la Vella
No journey into the Pyrenees is complete without calling in to Andorra, a place many professional riders call home thanks to its high altitude mountains. Stage 15 of the 2021 Tour de France will begin with short and shallow climbs before riders weave their way up to the highest point of the entire race at the summit of Port d’Envalira at 2408 m. At this point in the race, we can expect the group of yellow jersey contenders to be whittled down to just a couple of riders, so it’ll be an important stage for increasing the lead.
Stage 17 | Muret – Saint-Lary-Soulan: Col du Portet
Yet another summit finish will grace our screens during stage 17 of the 2021 Tour de France. Though the route starts off somewhat benign, the real test comes in the final 65 km of the stage. Three consecutive and iconic cols will send heart rates sky high as the peloton ascends the Col du Peyresourde, Col de Val Louron-Azet followed by the Col du Portet, at the top of which the stage will reach a crescendo. At just under 18 km at an average of nearly 8%, this summit finish will be a force to be reckoned with.
Stage 18 | Pau - Luz Ardinen: Col du Tourmalet
The final mountain stage of the Tour before riders make a beeline for Paris is not to be missed. Despite a relatively short distance at just 130 km, it’s the last chance for the GC riders to use their climbing legs in the race for the yellow jersey. At a similar length to the climbs in the stages before it, the Col du Tourmalet is a real icon of the Pyrenees and a favourite among amateur and professional cyclists alike. The 85th appearance of the mountain pass will see riders ascend from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan experiencing gradients of up to 10%. Will the riders leave it all on the Tourmalet or will they save their attacks for the final ascent up to Luz Ardinen?
The mountain stages are a real highlight to all the Grand Tours and the 2021 Tour de France is no exception. With an exciting route and stages ahead including a couple of potentially race-decided individual time trials, we’re more than ready to embrace the race that stops the world for three weeks.
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