Every summer, France is gripped by the biggest and best cycle race in Europe - Le Tour de France. This year, the magnificent race comes to Provence for two days in July.
The Tour will arrive in the Guisane valley via Valloire, then take on the Col du Télégraphe (11.9km at 7.1% gradient), followed by Col du Galibier (17.7km at 6.9% gradient), which may take them above the snow line. The Stage finish will be Col du Granon, (11.3km at 9.2% gradient), which for 25 years was the highest finish point of the Tour.
The next day sees the city of Briançon celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first arrival of the Tour in the city. The route is an exact replica of the 1986 route, with the riders facing the 21 bends of the mythical climb of Huez, after completing the passages of the Cols du Galibier (23km at 5.1% gradient) and the Croix de Fer (29km at 5.2%).
What to see
This Stage has tightly packed climbs, not allowing any room for error; the Montvernier hairpins are closely followed by the crossing of the Télégraphe and Galibier passes.
After passing through Serre-Chevalier, 10km of climbing at an average of more than 9% remains to reach the 2,412m Col du Granon, which was the Tour's highest finish point for 25 years. The climb is pretty steady until it flattens out a bit for the last few hundred metres.
This mythical pass was first a part of the Tour in 1986, prior to which there had never been a finish at an altitude of more than 2,400m.