The pack climbing towards Agnel pass during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. (Bas Czerwinski/The Associated Press)
CUNEO, Italy: One day after taking the yellow jersey off the back of Cadel Evans on the tough uphill finish to Prato Nevoso, the CSC-Saxo Bank team promised that the war is not over.
"Yesterday was not a real mountain stage," Bjarne Riis, the manager of the CSC team and the winner of the 1996 Tour de France, said Monday, during the Tour de France's second rest day. "The next two stages are much more mountainous. So we'll attack in a very different way."
"More mountainous" is a bit of an understatement. On Tuesday, the 16th stage, which begins here and travels back across the border into France measures just 157 kilometers, or 97.5 miles, in length, but it includes 3,350 meters, or 11,000 feet, of climbing with barely a flat spot on it.
After creeping uphill for 50 kilometers, riders will embark on the climb of La Lombarde pass, a 21.5-kilometer climb with an average slope of 7 percent. Rated "beyond category" in steepness and in length, the lower half of La Lombarde pitches upward at 13 percent in some sections, while the top is a series of narrow switchbacks.
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New York Times