Stage 7 Tour de France 2022

Stage 6 | Stage 7 | Stage 8

La Planche des Belles Filles
La Planche des Belles Filles in the 2014 Tour de France, by BoxOfficeFrance, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Stage 7 of the Tour de France 2022 is the first mountain test, although it's only a final climb rather than a full day of ascending. It's 176km long. The last 7km are at an average gradient of 8.7%, up to La Super Planche des Belles Filles at an altitude of 1140m.

This could be the day when we see which of the GC contenders are in the best shape, even if the time gaps are small.

Stage 7 Tour de France 2022: Race Details

Race details - Stage 7, Tour de France 2022
Date Friday 8th July 2022
Stage classification Mountain
Distance 176.3km
Intermediate sprint Gérardmer
Climbs Col de Grosse Pierre (Cat. 3)
Col des Croix (Cat. 3)
La Super Planche des Belles Filles (Cat. 1)

Stage 7 Tour de France 2022: Map & Stage Profile

Map showing Stage 7, TDF 2022
Map showing Stage 7, Tour de France 2022, © ASO/Tour de France, powered by Esri

There's an annoying video map of Stage 7:

This is the profile of Stage 7 Tour de France 2022:

Profile of Stage 7 Tour de France 2022
Profile of Stage 7 Tour de France 2022

Stage 7 Tour de France 2022: Timings

Timings - Stage 7, Tour de France 2022 - Local French Time

Caravan Fast Schedule Slow Schedule
Start Time (départ fictif) 1105 1305 1305
Start Time (départ réel) 1115 1315 1315
Intermediate Sprint (101.2km) 1343 1530 1543
Penultimate Climb at Col des Croix (136.1km) 1435 1617 1635
Finish Line (176.3km) 1543
1717 1743

Stage 7 Tour de France 2022: Route Notes

Stage 7 starts in Tomblaine.

Tomblaine

Pont de la Concorde, Tomblaine
Pont de la Concorde, Tomblaine, public domain

Tomblaine is a suburb of Nancy, separated from the city by the river Meurthe (Wikipedia). It's in the north east of France.

One theory about the origin of the name Tomblaine is that the Celtic people here were called 'les Alains', and they were beaten in battle by the Romans. Thereafter, the location became known  as 'Tombeau des Alains', or tomb of the Alans.

The idea isn't given much credence by Wikipedia, which says it's a fantasy. Still, one element of it may be correct: Tomblaine may derive from tomb or tumulus.

The football stadium where AS Nancy-Lorraine play, the Stade Marcel Picot, is in Tomblaine. Michel Platini started his career here, playing for Nancy for seven seasons.

Tomblaine was the start point for a stage to La Planche des Belles Filles in 2012 (when Froome won the stage). It also hosted the start of a stage in 2014.

Specialities of Nancy include Nancy macarons, created by two nuns in 1793, and Mirabelle plums.

Macarons de Nancy
Macarons de Nancy, by tljb, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Leaving Tomblaine, the riders head south east along the Meurthe via Art-sur-Meurthe and Dombasle-sur Meurthe. They pass Léomont Hill, which passed between French and German forces 8 times at the start of World War I. They continue to Lunéville.

Chateau de Lunéville
Château de Lunéville, by Zairon, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The Château de Lunéville dates from 1702 and was built for the Dukes of Lorraine. The Treaty of Lunéville between Napoléon's France and the Austrian Empire was signed in the chateau in 1801.

The peloton then goes south to Gerbéviller (where the C18th castle belongs to the House of Arenberg), and Rambervillers.

Rambervillers
Rambervillers, by Christian Amet, Licence CC BY 2.5

The route continues south towards the Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges. The riders go through Sainte-Hélène on the way to Bruyères.

Bruyeres
Bruyères, by Philippe Poix, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The Battle of Bruyères took place in October 1944, towards the end of World War II. It was a fight between the Germans and an American corps of Japanese-Americans from Hawaii and California. In memory of the battle, Bruyères is twinned with Honolulu.

Now the race follows the course of the Vologne river upstream to Gérardmer.

Lac de Gérardmer
Lac de Gérardmer, public domain image

Gérardmer has attracted tourists since the 1600s. In the 1800s it got its nickname, 'the Pearl of the Vosges'. The Nazis burnt 85% of the town before leaving in November 1944.

Col de la Grosse Pierre

From Gérardmer, the race is into wooded mountain terrain. The riders tackle the first categorised climb of the day, the Col de la Grosse Pierre, 3.1km at 6.4%, Category 3.

It's downhill to La Bresse. Traditionally an isolated mountain village, the local people are now involved in tourism and renewable energy.

Lac des Corbeaux
Lac des Corbeaux, by Christian Amet, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The lac des Corbeaux is a glacial lake near la Bresse, now used for hydro-electric power.

The descent continues to Cornimont; it gets its name from an auroch horn lost by Charlemagne here while hunting, according to the legend. Then there's the uncategorised climb of the Col du Ménil, and a descent via Le Ménil to Le Thillot.

Clément Noel, superstar slalom skier, is from Le Ménil and learned to ski at the small resort of Ventron.

Col des Croix

After Le Thillot, the next categorised climb starts: the Col des Croix, 3.2km at 6.3%, Category 3.

There's then a descent by the river Ognon to Belonchamp. Immediately north west of the road taken by the Tour de France is the Plateau de Mille Etangs.

Etang de Platte Pierre
Etang de Platte Pierre, by A BourgeoisP, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The lakes here are glacial in origin, and in the Middle Ages monks used them for fish-farming. The area is sometimes called the Little Finland of the Vosges.

From Belonchamp, the road rises to Fresse, where the Fountain of Saint Barbara cures eye diseases - a handy way of saving on medical bills. It continues uphill to the uncategorised Col de la Chevestraye (611m).

Next it's down to Plancher-les-Mines, famous for its silver mines, glass-making, and a funfair museum.

Plancher-les-Mines is the springboard for the ascent of La Super Planche des Belles Filles.

The Climb of La Super Planche des Belles Filles

Profile of the Super Planche des Belles Filles climb
Profile of the Super Planche des Belles Filles climb at the end of Stage 7, © ASO/Tour de France

The Tour came to la Planche des Belles Filles for the first time in 2012, on Stage 7. Chris Froome won the stage, and Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey.

This is very end of the 2012 race on video.

On Stage 10 of the 2014 Tour de France, Vincenzo Nibali won here; on Stage 5 of the 2017 race, Fabio Aru was the victor; and on Stage 6 of the 2019 Tour, Dylan Teuns crossed the line first.

Most recently Tadej Pogacar won a mountain time trial on Stage 20 of the Tour de France 2020, to win that edition of the race overall.

Stage 7 Tour de France 2022: the Favourites

Kruijswijk and Vingegaard
Kruijswijk and Vingegaard, by Filip Bossuyt, Licence CC BY 2.0

La Planche des Belles Filles has been a stage on which GC contenders shine, and that is likely to continue in 2022.

I suggest the most likely winners are Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard, Ben O'Connor, Aleksandr Vlasov, Romain Bardet and Geraint Thomas.

As with most stages, van Aert and van der Poel could win. If I was to throw in a couple of outsiders, why not Esteban Chaves or Warren Barguil?

Who do you think will win Stage 7?



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