Stage 11 isn’t particularly long, but makes up for it with a lot of climbing – an overall 4,200m vertical gain. It also sees the Tour’s first ascent of the 1,748m Col du Pré which follows a warm up on the similarly lofty Montée de Bisanne. Some of us will no doubt slow down to admire the sparkling lake before the next summit, the Cormet de Roselend. It’s overlooked by the Roselend Chapel – all that remains of the village that was submerged when the hydroelectric dam was built in 1960. We’ll then descend carefully, mindful of Johan Bruyneel’s 1996 crash that saw him flying off a rainy hairpin into a ravine (he climbed out of it, got back on his bike and finished the stage, in case you were worried), and then it’s one more long (but mercifully shallow) haul up the Col de Petit Saint Bernard to La Rosière.
We’ll be joined on tour today by young William and his mentor Jordan from fantastic WWMT grant-supported Regenerate. They’re going to do their darndest to complete the full stage – and we’re going to be right there with them, encouraging and supporting them every step of the way.