Tour de France to visit spectacular Plateau des Glieres in 2018
The 2018 Tour de France will include an ascent to the spectacular and historically significant Plateau des Glieres in the Bornes Massif mountain range.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme says what will be Stage 10 will “undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the Tour de France” and it will also include the first unpaved roads to be seen on the Tour in “maybe 60 or 70 years”.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme at the Plateau des GlièresEurosport
The ascent to the Plateau des Glieres is a challenging six kilometres at an average gradient of 11%: "Per kilometre, the average does not go below 10%, which is very rare," Prudhomme added.
But it’s not just the climb that the riders will be wary of. The limestone plateau will see the peloton take to gravel/dirt tracks in a very rare off-road detour by Tour planners.
The 2km stretch will be the first time in over half a century that such a section has featured in a Tour de France.
The Plateau des Glières will pose 'off-road' challenges for the pelotonEurosport
However, there’s more to the Plateau des Glieres than just spectacular scenery and challenging terrain.
The region was a significant one for the French Resistance in the Second World War, with a group of resistance fighters basing themselves there. A monument to those who lost their lives was erected in 1973 on the plateau. Prudhomme said:
" The Plateau des Glieres is one of the most important maquis of World War II, it is also a tribute to those who fought and gave their lives. 'Men here died to remain men', it is written and it gives goosebumps."