How important is l’Alpe d’Huez?

The Platform d’Huez, the Fortress of l’Oisans, the Mountain Temple, Dutch Mountain or just the Alpe. The Alpe d’Huez is known by many names and has become a mainstay of the Tour de France. First used in stage 10 of the 1952 Tour, Fausto Coppi won the day, took yellow and didn’t relinquish it. It wasn’t until 1976 that the Alpe was used again and in the 39 years since, it’s been used 29 times. It’s nearly 14km long, averages 8.1% and has sections that hit 13%. Its 21 hairpins are legendary (and named after legends). Come race day, the
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Abandonments

With some big name withdrawals, including two yellow jersey holders in Fabien Cancellara and Tony Martin, this year’s Tour has seen the usual rhetoric around safety. BMC’s manager, Jim Ochowicz, has called for smaller pelotons while riders and observers comment on the stress of the first week with its high speeds, cobbles and ‘road furniture’. Some have tackled the question of whether the Tour is getting more dangerous; not surprisingly, it’s not really possible to say. The most common approach when attempting to answer this question is to look at abandonments but while we know how many riders withdraw, the
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Bonifications

Time bonuses, or bonifications as the French (and Sean Kelly) call them, were awarded in this year’s Tour de France for the first time since 2007. Barring the two time trials, first, second and third in each stage received a bonus of 10, 6 and 4 seconds respectively. This is relatively modest compared to 2007 when 20, 12 and 8 seconds were awarded. Or 1935 when first and second got 90 and 45 seconds or, in the case of a solo break, the winner’s time gap was the bonus, up to 2 minutes. Or 1923 and 1924; 2 and 3
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