Stage 15 - July 16: Briancon - Courchevel, 173.5 km
Start time: 12:21
Right out of the box, the tired peloton of Le Tour 2000 faces the 2646m "hors categoire" Col du Galibier by way of the Col du Lautaret; 22.1 km at 5.3%. After a long downhill ride along the Massif de la Vanoise, it's another "hors categoire" col on offer. No piece of cake this one; the 2000m Col de la Madeleine is a unrelenting 19.3km climb at 8%.
Finally after the technical twisting descent of la Madeleine, it's the 22.2km ascension to the chi-chi ski resort of Courchevel. The final climb is tough, but the roads are wide and fast; great for an attack by Pantani who is anxious to win a stage all by himself. Le Maillot Jaune Armstrong and his USPS riders rode well to Briancon on the long Stage 14, but they will be tested on the tough ascent of la Madeleine. A lot of people see today as the last chance for Armstrong to win a real road stage in this year's Tour, something that he certainly desires.
Today, we'll see how Ullrich does, especially on the Madeleine. He has been riding well so far, always up the front, pushing a big gear at a solid pace. Yesterday, he and Guerini rode at the front for most of the day, as did Heppner. However, the Telekom team lost Steffen Weseman, who fell on the last descent and broke his collarbone unfortunately. Probably Banesto and Kelme will go on the attack A lot of people think that today is Lance Armstrong's
Weather: It's a bright and sunny morning, but the weather is still cool. Long time followers of the race agree that the weather this year is simply weird as it has been all summer. As we go north through Savoie there'll be more cloud cover, especially at the top of the Madeleine. It's expected to be 5 degrees at the finish in Courchevel.
Km 33.0 - Col du Galibier
- 8.4 km at 6.9% (Cat. HC)
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