Col D’Allos: The Descent Where the Tour de France Could Be Won or Lost by HANI LIM AND RENÉE RIGDON

Bicycle makers continue to produce lighter machines with better grip and more powerful brakes. Riders have been flirting with unheard of speeds during descents, touching 70 miles an hour. And race organizers have been responding with more challenging mountain stages than ever. The past four editions of the Tour all featured at least 11 downhill sections so steep that the road lost 50 meters in vertical elevation per kilometer. Ten of the descents in this summer’s race are even stiffer, averaging at least a 6% downhill, including the notoriously technical Col d’Allos in the race’s final week.