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94th Tour de France - ProT
France, July 7-29, 2007
Stage 15 - Monday, July 23: Foix - Loudenvielle - Le Louron, 196km
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
After a difficult time trial and then a hard mountain-top finish atop Plateau de Beille, stage 15 to Foix Loudenvielle to Le Louron is the Queen Stage of the 2007 Tour de France. The long, difficult traverses the heart of the Hautes-Pyrénées from Foix in the Ariege region, with the Col de Port as the opener after just 27.5 kilometres. Then stage 15 rolls through the beautiful countryside around Saint-Girons before assaulting the challenging second-half of the stage, with the steep Cat. 2 Col de Portet d'Aspet, then the steeper Cat. 1 Col de Menté, the new hors catégorie ascent of the Port de Balès, a 19.5-kilometre climb that averages a 6.2% grade, with the final 10 kilometres at 8.5% which should show who is the strongest in this year's Tour.
However, the terrible stage 15 isn't done yet, as the steep 10 kilometres Col de Peyresourde awaits before the technical descent to Loudenvielle Le Louron. Look for Ag2r Prévoyance's Christophe Moreau and Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen to battle for the Maillot Blanc à Pois Rouges of Best Climber across the five cols of stage 15.