Tour de France 2024: discover the profile and times of the fourth stage, with the start of the high mountains

Tour de France 2024: discover the profile and times of the fourth stage, with the start of the high mountains
Tour de France 2024: discover the profile and times of the fourth stage, with the start of the high mountains

After three days in Italy, the Tour’s return to France promises to be spectacular on Tuesday with the passage, amidst walls of snow, of the Col du Galibier, a summit of the Grande Boucle perched at an altitude of 2,642 metres.

With an unprecedented departure from Italy, the Alps are on the programme from the fourth stage for a crossing which overturns the traditional architecture of the Tour, the opposite of the one achieved 2,242 years ago by Hannibal and his elephants.

“We’re going to go and get the Galibier on the fourth day, that’s not common. But we had to cross the Alps to get back. It’s this kind of stage that forces the riders to be ready from the start of the Tour de France because you don’t climb to 2,600 meters like that.”underlines the technical director of the event, Thierry Gouvenou.

The peloton will spend only one day in the high mountains before returning to the Southern Alps for the last three stages in preparation for the final finish in Nice on July 21. The stage, very short (139 km), will start from Pinerolo, west of Turin, to arrive in Valloire where Nairo Quintana won in 2019. And the small gears will be out with first the long climb to the resort of Sestrières, where Fausto Coppi raised his arms in 1952, the Montgenèvre pass (1,860 m) and finally the Lautaret and the Galibier, taken from its southern face, the easiest.


“It’s not the hardest part. It’s quite smooth, there are no steep gradients. Overall, the difficulties of the day are not insurmountable. But it’s still a lot of elevation gain in the end (3,600 m) and it remains a key moment of the Tour de France, especially with the slightly disrupted preparation of some people.”Gouvenou points out.

Bad memory for Pogacar

It will indeed be an important test for Jonas Vingegaard, Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel, all of whom had accidents in the spring. But also for Tadej Pogacar who has not always shown himself to be sovereign at high altitude. And the Slovenian has bad memories of the Galibier where he was harassed by the Jumbo-Visma in 2022 before then cracking in the Col du Granon to lose the yellow jersey which he only recovered on Sunday, almost two years later.

A natural border between the Northern and Southern Alps, the Galibier is a monument of the Tour and the most crossed Alpine pass on the Grande Boucle with 60 passages. It is at the summit of the giant Cerces, where the Luxembourger Andy Schleck won in 2011 after an extraordinary raid, that the Henri-Desgrange prize and its 5,000 euros reward are awarded to the first rider to cross the pass. This year, bonuses are added (8, 5 and 2 seconds to the first three), which could further encourage a few contenders for the yellow jersey to go on the offensive.

An exceptional panorama

The interest is not only sporting because the road offers an exceptional panorama of the high peaks in the surroundings, such as the Meije (3,983 m), and their glaciers. After a particularly wet spring, there is still a lot of snow on the slopes of the Galibier and the road to the summit was only opened to traffic on June 26, less than a week before the riders passed through.

Local authorities have had to carry out regular blasting operations to secure the course and prevent the snow walls from falling onto the road. A possible battle between favourites in a breathtaking setting: it’s hard to do better for a return home.

Departure from Pinerolo at 1:15 p.m. (actual at 1:15 p.m.) arrival in Valloire at 5:05 p.m. (time calculated on an average of 36 km/h).
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