Alaphilippe joined his teammates Dries Devenyns and the champion of Luxembourg road racing Bob Jungels for a more in-depth review of stage 17 of the Tour, which will begin in Grenoble and will feature the climbs of the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Loze as his arrival at the summit, which is located between the two ski resorts of Meribel and Courchevel.
“Still a beautiful day of work. One hell of a final climb up to the top of the Col de la Loze “, wrote Alaphilippe on Twitter Wednesday with a photo of him posing inside of a giant. Frozen 2 – The Snow Queen 2 in French (‘The Snow Queen 2’) – picture frame with his team-mates.
“Only a great champion can win at Col de la Loze “, says Tour director Christian Prudhomme about the step 17 on the website of the race, stressing that the riders will have another seven miles to travel to get to the finish, with sections consisting of slopes in excess of 20%, after having already climbed fifteen kilometres up to the ski resort of Meribel.
The mid-term review of the stage of 168 km, which will take place on September 16 – just four days from the arrival in Paris – the peloton will have already had to face the Col de la Madeleine, along 17.1 km, with an average slope of 8.4%.
However, as Het Nieuwsblad pointed out Wednesday, Alaphilippe was the first rider to cross the summit of the Madeleine when it was last used on the route of the Tour in 2018 – full 12 months before its relay surprise two weeks in the yellow jersey of race leader in the Tour last year, when he showed that he could perhaps one day be a serious contender overall in the race.
Two years ago, Alaphilippe had the points on the Madeleine, which would ensure him finally the polka-dot jersey “king of the mountains”. But in the wake of his success on the Tour in 2019, which sent France into ecstasy, Alaphilippe has only lost the yellow jersey – against the eventual winner of the race Egan Bernal – on step 19, which has been shortened as a consequence of landslides in the French Alps, two days of the end of the race – he moved to minimize his chances for the immediate future.
Some might see his rides of recognition this week as showing an intention to perform well overall, but this may of course simply indicate that Alaphilippe is looking to add a fifth stage victory of the Tour to his list in full growth, after winning two in each of the last two Rounds, or even another polka-dot jersey in his wardrobe.
Still a beautiful day to work well. One hell of a final to the summit of the Col de la Loze ? pic.twitter.com/aXRSG4TgfV24 June 2020