By definition the “Circle of Death” is the hardest Tour de France stage in the Pyrenees. Today’s brutal route with over
6,882m ~4900m of climbing which includes the Col d’Aubisque (1,709m), Col du Tourmalet (2,115m), Col d’Aspin (1,489m) and Col de Peyresourde (1,569m) is nearly the same route as stage ten in 1910 when the the Pyrenees were first introduced into the Tour de France. The Circle of Death has seen many Tour contender’s hopes die, and if there was any chance for a podium finish for Cadel, that has now also vanished.
Thomas Voeckler took the honors is his usual dramatic style and also takes over the mountains classification. Wiggins, Froome and Nibali, have firmed up the top three GC positions but we still have one short but exciting mountain-top finish tomorrow. This will be the last chance for the climbers to take care of unfinished business. Port de Bales was the climb where Andy Schleck dropped his chain and lost 39 seconds to Alberto Contador in 2010, and the mountain-top finish of Peyragudes has never been featured before at the Tour.
Stage 16 Photos
Stage 17 Preview