The mountains of the Tour de France hold a mythical status among many Australians as if they’re so difficult they almost can’t be real.
Oh, they’re real.
But never fear. You don’t have to venture all the way to the other side of the world to experience the hardship of the French Alps. Just come to Jindabyne.
Across the 158km of the Race, at L’Etape Australia, you’ll have an altitude gain of 2,738m.
This is more than on the first day of decision at this year’s Tour de France to La Planche des Belles Filles, where Chris Froome won his first Tour stage in 2012 and Vincenzo Nibali collected stage honours on his way to overall victory in 2014.
So, as Stage 5 of the Tour will be a solid test for the peloton and clarify the genuine contender for yellow in Paris, let’s compare it to The Race at L’Etape Australia.
On Stage 5 the Tour peloton will tackle 160km, with the first 100km of the route venturing across rolling hills.
It’s then onto the Côte d’Esmoulières, which connects to the Col des Croix. This is a longer climb than the 2.9km Col de Beloka but nowhere near as steep.
From there the Tour takes the valley road to La Planches des Belles Filles, which is 5.9km of toil at 8.5%.
The climb shows no mercy from bottom to top, yet the steepest sector is in the finale when the riders face a gruelling 20%.
By comparison, the Col de Kosciuszko climb, to the finish at Perisher, is 22.9km at an average gradient of 4.4%. It’s a long tough grind.
Stage 5 will have a say in the final outcome of the Tour yet The Race at L’Etape Australia covers tougher terrain.
Obviously, the tempo in France, in July, will be a little quicker but it’s nice to know the Snowy Mountains will provide a world-class test for your legs, body and mind.
Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.
Matt is one of the two official voices of L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.