UnknownTDF - Stage 1 - Gosselies - Chaussée de Fleurus

Place Albert, Gosselies where the riders will pass through on stage 1. Photo by    Richard Laperche   , licence through    creative commons

Place Albert, Gosselies where the riders will pass through on stage 1. Photo by Richard Laperche, licence through creative commons

So here we are, the first stage of the Tour de France and a yellow jersey up for grabs to whoever crosses the line first. This of course has been flagged as a stage for the sprinters, but it isn’t without its obstacles along the way, famous cobbled climbs, one of which, the The Muur, featured as Imogen Cotter's Local Climb earlier in the year, unmarked climbs and a secteur of Pavé which has been rated 3* by the race organisers; combine that with the usual stress of the first stage of the Tour then it is going to be extremely difficult for any of the sprinters teams to control.

Looking at the road book I picked out a climb north of the centre of Charleroi, it has a segment called "monte Gosselie” on Strava and comes off a bridge over the Brussels-Charleroi canal. The climb is fairly benign to begin with before it pitches at 9% as it rises to Place Albert in centre of Gosselies. From here it is a fast straight downhill for a couple of Km’s towards Thimeon before a right hand turn onto the 1900m secteur of cobbles at Chaussée de Fleurus.

It may be 80Km to go from this point but teams with interest in taking the jersey could put on the pressure, using the climb to Gosselies to position and string it out through the downhill to the cobbles. It will be fast, it will be stressful and someone could well lose out.

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