Tour de France: 3 things to know about the 18th stage from Méribel to La Roche-sur-Foron

Between Méribel (Savoie) and La Roche-sur-Foron (Haute-Savoie), climbers will find this Thursday a last opportunity to shine. Four passes dot the 175 km route, ending with the climb to the Glières plateau 30 km from the finish.

Last foray into the mountains

It’s a dry climb of 6 km at 11.2% on average, with passages at 15%. The last major difficulty of the Tour is short but it is conducive to big gaps. Especially since it is followed by a stone path 1.8 km long to reach the Col des Glières. Only downside, there are then 30 km until the finish.

The heroic maquisards at the Glières plateau

The Glières plateau was a hotspot for the Resistance during the Second World War. At the end of 1943, it was chosen as a base of operations and received British parachutes in order to equip the guerrillas with arms. The latter, numbering 450, repelled the siege of 3,000 Wehrmacht soldiers and 700 French militiamen on March 23, 1944, after being bombed by the Luftwaffe a few days earlier. The guerrillas evacuated the square on March 26, but they suffered heavy losses during the following hunt (120 dead).

Julian Alaphilippe’s premiere in 2018

This July 17, 2018, the mountain stage, 158.5 km long, takes the peloton from Annecy to Grand-Bornand. In the middle of the route, the runners climb for the first time in the history of the Tour the rise of the Glières plateau. Julian Alaphilippe, who escaped from the start with 19 riders, crosses the pass in the lead. He gets rid of his last opponent, Rein Taaramäe in the Col de Romme, then wins at Le Grand-Bornand, his first stage victory in the Tour (he has five today). On this occasion, he put on the polka-dot jersey that he kept until the Champs-Elysées.

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