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Stage 18: Lourdes to Hautacam

With the introduction of the much-feared Col de Spandelles between the legendary Col d’Aubisque and the always-decisive finishing climb to Hautacam, it’s as if a new classic Pyrenean stage has been born.


Stage date
JUL 21, 2022
Stage distance
143.2 KM
Stage terrain
Mountains

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A classic new mountain stage

With the introduction of the much-feared Col de Spandelles between the legendary Col d’Aubisque and the always-decisive finishing climb to Hautacam, it’s as if a new classic Pyrenean stage has been born.

When the Spandelles was used at the lesser-known Route du Sud 10 years ago, Colombian climber Nairo Quintana broke clear on the Spandelles and soloed to victory, while some 30 riders abandoned because of the stage’s difficulties, which also included the Tourmalet and Soulor passes. Extremely narrow, with rough pavement, 20 turns and frequent double-digit pitches, the 10.3-kilometer Spandelles was thought to be impassable for Le Tour, but the regional highways department has done work on it to make the descent safer.

“The Spandelles could well cause some damage,” says Groupama-FDJ team rider Mathieu Ladagnous. “It’s a wild pass…I know it well because I live just a few kilometers away. It’s a great find.”

Should a rider like Pogačar attack on the Spandelles (if he needs to), the fast, technical 14-kilometer descent will take him straight to the foot of the climb to Hautacam—which is well known for favoring lone riders. The five previous stage finishes here have included solo victories for Tour winners Vincenzo Nibali (2014) and Bjarne Riis (1996).