Or so says Tony Martin. This year marks the first time the tour will travel from Alpe d'Huez to Col de Sarenne in order to take second run up Alpe d'Huez in stage 18 this coming Thursday. I had the opportunity to ride Alpe d'Huez and Col de Sarenne today, and I have to say, Tony Martin has a point.
He made his concerns known on his website:
I have say that I was negatively surprised. The road is old and narrow. It’s a bad road, no guardrails. A mistake could see you falling straight down 30 meters.
Now that I've ridden the leg from Alpe d'Huez to Col de Sarenne and down to Le Freney d'Oisans this thing looks awful. The pavement is even worse than I thought. I assumed they might fix things up a bit for such a big event, and they did. It was worse when we rode it last year. It's likely participants will "ride the conditions" and avoid any aggressive moves over the 26.5km descent. It's too bad. I still want to see Froome attacked from every corner of the peloton over the final week. Unless there is a rider willing to take everyone by surprise by risking serious injury, this segment will be relatively casual descending for the peloton. It'll be ok Tony.
Here's a video of the descent. Last year, it was the slowest descent of my life, and it has sections of 11.5% (average 7.5%) grade over about 20km. Normally, on a descent like that, I (or one of my crazier friends) will see 55mph without much effort. Today I was comfortable up to about 38mph at which point I thought I might find myself down 30m or sharing a personal moment with cows.
Picture credit me.