Etape 5 – 79km
After yesterday’s exertions this is a relatively short stage with only one real climb of note – the Col d’Agnes (1,569m). The climb is 10km long with an average gradient of 8.1%.
The climb was first used in the Tour as late as 1988 and has been used only 5 times since. The first man over the climb in 1988 was legendary British climber Robert Millar. Millar won the King of the Mountains jersey in the 1984 Tour and is still the only rider from an English speaking country to win that jersey. Until the exploits of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas he was the highest placed UK rider in the Tour with 4th place in 1984.
After the descent of the Col d’Agnes we join the climb of the Port de Lers about 4km from the summit (1,517m). The climb was first used in the Tour in 1995 when the late, great Italian climber Marco Pantani was first over the climb. The climb has been used 4 times since in the Tour most recently in 2012.
The descent from the top of the Port de Lers to Tarascon-sur-Ariege is a real treat! 24km downhill all the way! Although the first 9km is quite narrow we’ll be riding hard and fast in a train for the last 15km once we hit the main road at Vicdessos.