Stage 15 Tour de France 2024

Stage 14 | Stage 15 | Stage 16

Plateau de Beille
Plateau de Beille, by Ronde de l'Isard, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 15 of the Tour de France 2024 is a 197.7km Pyreneen mountain stage from Loudenvielle to Plateau de Beille.

The climbs include the Col de Peyresourde, the Col de Menté, the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, and the Col d'Agnès. The summit finish is at Plateau de Beille.

The race organisers speculate that the GC teams will try to place domestiques in the breakaway, to help their team leaders in the closing stages.

The total climbing on Stage 15 is 4,800m. That, coupled with a distance of nearly 200km, means it will be very hard.

As it's a Sunday and Bastille Day, there will be huge crowds on the climbs.

Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Video Highlights and Blog

These are video highlights of Stage 15.



This is the Stage 15 blog/race report.

Race Details | Poll | Map & Profile | Timings | Videos | Food & Drink | Route Notes | Favourites

Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Race Details

Race details - Stage 15, Tour de France 2024
Date Sunday 14th July 2024
Stage classification Mountain
Distance 197.7km
Intermediate sprint Marignac
Climbs Col de Peyresourde Cat. 1)
Col de Menté (Cat. 1)
Col de Portet-d'Aspet (Cat. 1)
Col d'Agnès (Cat. 1)
Plateau de Beille (HC)
Total climbing 4,800m

Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Poll

Vote for one of the main contenders to win Stage 15.


Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Map & Stage Profile

This is a map of the route of Stage 15, Tour de France 2024.

Map of Stage 15 Tour de France 2024
Map of Stage 15 Tour de France 2024, ©ASO/Tour de France

This is a zoom-able map of the route of Stage 15 of the 2024 Tour de France.


Note: this routemap was produced a long time in advance of the race, and could be subject to changes.

This is the profile of Stage 15 Tour de France 2024.

Profile of Stage 15 Tour de France 2024
Profile of Stage 15 Tour de France 2024, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Timings

Timings - Stage 15, Tour de France 2024

Caravan Fast Schedule Slow Schedule
Start Time (départ fictif) 0955
1155
1155
Start Time (départ réel) 1005
1205
1205
Intermediate Sprint Marignac 1110
1259
1306
Col du Portet d'Aspet Climb 1200
1344
1356
Finish Line (197.7km) 1554
1722
1804

Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Videos

This is a video of the route of Stage 15 Tour de France 2024.

The last time the Tour de France finished at Plateau de Beille was on Stage 12 of the 2015 edition. Joaquim Rodriguez won that day.



Food and Drink to Accompany Stage 15 Tour de France 2024

Limoux Méthode Ancestrale
Limoux Méthode Ancestrale (affiliate link)

The Croustade de Couserans is a speciality of the Ariège département and one of its main towns, Saint-Girons.

It's a fruit pie made with apples, pears or plums, and puff pastry and icing sugar.

The nearest wine region with an AOC is Limoux, a little to the east of today's stage.

There are red Limoux wines mainly made from Merlot, and whites that use Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc grapes.

The Limoux Méthode Ancestrale is said to be the oldest sparkling wine in France.

Buy a bottle of Limoux Méthode Ancestrale (affiliate link).


Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: Route Notes

The stage starts in Loudenvielle (départ fictif).

I speculate that some of the riders will be warming up on rollers today, since the climb of the Col de Peyresourde starts straight after the neutralised section. Being unprepared or half-asleep will be a bad tactic.

Loudenvielle

Loudenvielle
Loudenvielle, by Sotos, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Loudenvielle is a village in the Louron valley. The suffix -vielle in the names of villages here comes from the Latin villa, meaning a farm or rural dwelling.

It is a popular spot for mountain tourism, with a thermal spa (Balnéa), a waterpark and a man-made lake.

Stage 8 of the 2020 Tour de France finished in Loudenvielle.


The neutralised section is a short ride from Loudenvielle along the D25, past the Lac de Génos-Loudenvielle.

Lac de Génos-Loudenvielle
Lac de Génos-Loudenvielle, by Sotos, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The peloton will then turn onto the D618 Route du Col de Peyresourde, and the départ réel is just after the village of Estarvielle.

Col de Peyresourde (Category 1)

Col de Peyresourde milepost
Col de Peyresourde, by Stephen Colebourne, Licence CC BY 2.0

The climb of the Col de Peyresourde is 6.9km at an average 7.8%. The height at the top is 1,569m, after just 7km raced.

I guess that a breakaway will form on the Peyresourde climb. Any riders wanting green jersey points will try to be in it, or send a teammate, to try to bag the intermediate sprint points a few kilometres later at Marignac.

Col de Peyresourde milepost
Col de Peyresourde milepost, by Stephen Colebourne, Licence CC BY 2.0

The Col de Peyresourde has featured in the Tour many times since Octave Lapize was first to the top in 1910.

On Stage 8 of the 2016 edition of the race, the riders tackled the Peyresourde from the west side (as in 2024). On the descent to the finish at Bagnères-de-Luchon, Chris Froome's crazy descending style won him much admiration and the stage.


No one will be descending like Froome this time because that technique has since been banned.

The descent from the Col de Peyresourde brings the race to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Bagnères-de-Luchon

Bagnères-de-Luchon
Bagnères-de-Luchon, by Patrice Bon, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Bagnères-de-Luchon is sometimes called 'the Queen of the Pyrenees'.

It's a spa resort, and has a ski resort above it, Superbagnères.

When Pompey was in the area in 76BC, one of his soldiers was suffering with a skin complaint. The man came and bathed in the thermal waters here and after 21 days, he was right as rain.

This cure must have been remembered by the Romans because in 25BC they built three baths, which were called balneum lixonense post Neapolitense primum (the best baths after those of Naples).

The baths were relaunched at the end of the 1700s, attracting European royalty and aristocracy. The arrival of the railway in 1873, and the opening of a casino in 1880, increased the popularity of Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Casino, Bagnères-de-Luchon
Casino, Bagnères-de-Luchon, by Alberto Gonzales Rovira, Licence CC BY 2.0

Bagnères-de-Luchon has the privilege of being twinned with Harrogate, North Yorkshire (UK).


From Bagnères-de-Luchon, Stage 15 trundles down the valley next to a stream called la Pique.

It reaches Cierp-Gaud then Marignac, where the intermediate sprint takes place.

Intermediate Sprint at Marignac

The intermediate sprint is at Marignac after 37km raced.

I fully expect all 501 inhabitants to turn out to watch the sprint.

Stage 15 continues to Saint-Béat, on the river Garonne.

Saint-Béat

Saint-Béat
Saint-Béat, by Père Igor, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Saint-Béat is a village in a stunning location by the river Garonne. Its proximity to the river also leaves it vulnerable to flooding.

Saint-Béat & the river Garonne
Saint-Béat & the river Garonne, by Père Igor, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Saint-Béat is known for its white marble quarries. The marble was used extensively during the reign of Louis XIV, including for some of the statues in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.

There's a C12th fort, which controlled passage through the narrow Garonne valley here.

Chateau de Saint-Béat
Chateau de Saint-Béat, by Emeraude, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Above Saint-Béat, on the Tuc de l'Etang mountain and near the top of the Col de Menté, is the ski resort of le Mourtis (1,450m).


Stage 15 then takes the D44 up the Col de Menté.

Col de Menté (Category 1)

Col de Menté
Top of the Col de Menté, by Rafa Guijarro, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The Col de Menté is 9.3km at an average 9.1%. The height at the top is 1,349m after 50km raced.

Cycle Fiesta say:

'Col de Menté from Saint-Béat is one of the most challenging climbs in the Ariège Pyrenees. The consistently high gradients offer little respite, and there is also little shade to be found on the steep slopes.'

Cycle Fiesta mention the Col de Menté's role in the 1971 Tour de France.

Luis Ocana was leading the race by 7 minutes. He was attacked on the descent of the Col de Menté by Eddy Merckx, who crashed and took the Spaniard down with him.

Merckx continued and won the 1971 Tour, while Ocana was taken to hospital.

Altogether, the Col de Menté has been a Tour de France climb on 22 occasions.

There's a descent of the Col de Menté to Ger de Boutx before the next climb, the Col de Portet-d'Aspet.

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The book suggests relevant exercises to develop and improve your skills. Common faults are identified, along with the best ways to correct them.

'By the way' sections contain information about many of the little things that people assume you just know, but you may not.

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How to buy:


Col de Portet-d'Aspet (Category 1)

Top of Col de Portet d'Aspet
Col de Portet-d'Aspet, by Daemonic Kangaroo, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Near the start of the climb of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet is a sundial memorial to Fabio Casartelli.

He died in a crash on Stage 15 of the 1995 Tour de France while descending the Col de Portet-d'Aspet.

Monument Fabio Casartelli
Monument Fabio Casartelli, by Hadzabe, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The Col de Portet-d'Aspet is a shorter climb than the Col de Menté, but still quite steep.

It is 4.3km at an average 9.6%, to a height of 1,069m at the top after 65.4km raced.

The race descends the Col de Portet-d'Aspet to Saint-Lary (not to be confused with Saint-Lary-Soulan).

The 30km after the summit of the Portet-d'Aspet are all downhill. This is a lull in the middle of the stage.

It probably means that the climbs in the first half of the stage will serve the purpose of softening up any weaker riders and letting a break go, but won't be decisive.

The race follows the Bouigane river through Orgibet, Aucazein, and Audressein. It's then in the valley of the Lez through Moulis, which means 'mills'.

Moulis is home to the Station d'Ecologie Théorique et Experimentale. They carry out research into ecology, biodiversity and eco-systems. Among other things, they test out the effect of global heating on communities of plant and animal species.

Stage 15 continues to Saint-Girons.

Saint-Girons

Saint-Girons
Saint-Girons, by Pedro, Licence CC BY 2.0

Saint-Girons is a town in the Ariège département. It is on the river Salat, at its confluence with le Lez.

Historically, the town belonged to the Viscounts of Couseran.

Saint-Girons
Saint-Girons, by HasnaouiOmar, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Saint-Girons is in the region of 18 valleys. It is 2km from Saint-Lizier, which belongs to the association of the most beautiful villages in France.


In Saint-Girons, the riders turn right onto the Boulevard de Générale de Gaulle, within a stone's throw of the Château des Vicomtes.

Saint-Girons Chateau
Château des Viscomtes at Saint-Girons, by Sergio09200, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Now the race route follows the river Salat south through the Gorges de Ribaouto to Soueix Rogalle and Oust.

Oust
River Garbet at Oust, by PierreG_09, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Stage 15 then heads south east up the Vallée de Garbet to Aulus-les-Bains, a spa village with waters thought to help treat syphilis. It is below the ski resort of Guzet-Neige.

Aulus-les-Bains
Aulus-les-Bains, by BluesyPete, Licence CC BY 2.0

Soon after, the riders start the climb of the Col d'Agnès.

Col d'Agnès (Category 1)

Col d'Agnés
Col d'Agnès, by Ronde de l'Isard, Licence CC BY 2.0

The Col d'Agnès is 10km at an average 8.2%. The height at the top is 1,570m after 138.6km raced.

Profile of the Col d'Agnes
Profile of the Col d'Agnès climb, ©ASO/Tour de France

(Sometimes the Col d'Agnès is given a grave accent on the e and sometimes it isn't. It's hard to know which is correct).

Not far from the route is the spectacular Cascade d'Ars.

Cascade d'Ars
Cascade d'Ars, by PierreG 09, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

There's then a short descent past the Etang de Lers to Courtal-de-Bastard.

Etang de Lers
Etang de Lers, by Anthospace, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Then it's uphill again on the climb of the Port de Lers (not an official climb on Stage 15).

Port de Lers

Bike racers on the Port de Lers
Tim Wellens and Peter Sagan on the Port de Lers in 2019, by PierreG_09, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Because the ascent of the Port de Lers starts from Courtal-de-Bastard, there's much less climbing than there would be if tackling it from Massat or Vicdessos.

The top is at 1,517m, and since there are no KOM points available the polka-dot jersey can relax (relatively speaking).

Now it's down the valley of the Ruisseau de Suc to Vicdessos, and along the Vicdessos river to Tarascon-sur-Ariège.

Tarascon-sur-Ariège

Tarascon-sur-Ariege
Tarascon-sur-Ariège, by Jorge Franganillo, Licence CC BY 2.0

Tarascon-sur-Ariège is a town of 3,000 people, close to Foix and Pamiers.

In the Middle Ages, Tarascon belonged to the Counts of Foix, and was protected by town walls.

The château was destroyed in the 1600s on the orders of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. In 1775, a new tower was built, la Tour du Castella.

Tarascon is home to the Parc de la Préhistoire. It invites you to learn how to live like a Cro-Magnon.

People on Tripadvisor think it's in a lovely setting, and some of them say how much they enjoyed the 'throwing a spear' workshop. You can also learn to prepare flints and light a fire.

There are a number of caves near Tarascon, including the Grotte de Niaux and its cave paintings.

Cave painting, Grotte de Niaux
Bison in the Salon Noir of the Grotte de Niaux, public domain image

Some of the halls in the Niaux cave are huge, for example the Cathedral Hall which is as big as Notre-Dame de Paris.


Now the race heads up the Ariège river via Ornolac-Ussat-les Bains to Les Cabannes where the final climb, the Plateau de Beille, begins.

Plateau de Beille (Hors Catégorie)

Plateau de Beille
Plateau de Beille, by Anthospace, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The Plateau de Beille is a largely wooded climb. It was first used by the Tour de France in 1998, when Marco Pantani 'won' here.

In total, it is 15.8km at an average 7.9%.

Profile of the Plateau de Beille
Profile of the Plateau de Beille climb, ©ASO/Tour de France

Plateau de Beille

Plateau de Beille
Plateau de Beille, by Maeva Loillier et Florent Paitrault, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 15 finishes at Plateau de Beille, a cross-country skiing resort created in 1988. The altitude is between 1,700 and 2,000m.

There's grassland, beech and fir forests, as well as moorland and bogs. Marsh cinquefoil and tussock cottongrass grow on the wetter areas.

Wild birds include the capercaillie, golden eagle and bearded vulture. Among the mammals are pine martens and chamois.


Stage 15 Tour de France 2024: the Favourites

Jonas Vingegaard
Jonas Vingegaard, by ASO/Charly Lopez,

In 2015, Joaquim Rodriguez won on the Plateau de Beille. He was a very light, pure climber.

A breakaway rider could win today, but it's such a hard stage that I suspect the GC contenders will catch a breakaway and fight it out for the stage win.

Jonas Vingegaard hasn't been on his top form in the 2024 Tour, but he has been saying 'my time will come'. Stage 15 could suit his characteristics.

Who do you think will win Stage 15 of the 2024 Tour de France?




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