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New 24% gravel summit finish set for 2019 Tour de France

New summit of the Planche des Belles Filles explored by Tour race organisers

Joe Robinson
24 Aug 2018

A new gravel hiking path with gradients of 24% at the top of the Planche des Belles Filles could make its debut as a summit finish at the 2019 Tour de France

Reports from French media outlet France Bleu suggested that next year's race could visit this new route up the Planche des Belles Filles having investigated a mysterious tweet from race general commissioner Stephane Boury. 

Boury tweeted a photo of his notebook, distance measuring device and stick accompanied with the caption: 'Here will be considered a new finish for the TDF2019... passing 24%... there will be some show.' 

The picture failed to unveil the location of this mysterious summit yet rumours quickly circulated that it was in fact as the Planche des Belles Filles, a summit finish used in the Vosges mountain range.

France Bleu then sent its own reporters to the climb's summit in order to research more details surrounding this new finish.

After a while, France Bleu found the spot in which Boury's photo was taken, close to a gravel hiking path that continues to climb up the mountain. 

The climb then veers to the left, continuing to climb to around 24% before rounding a final corner and reaching a finish line, which has been outlined with two wooden stakes to signify next year's finish.

The Planche des Belles Filles is a relatively new climb for the Tour, debuting in 2012 when Chris Froome took the victory ahead of defending champion Cadel Evans and eventual winner Bradley Wiggins.

It has since been used in 2014 and 2017 with Italian duo Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru winning respectively. The current climb averages 8.5% with a final 200m at 20%.

The 2019 Tour de France route is currently being formulated with the official announcement due this October. 

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