Total Distance: 97 km (see map above)
Climb at Col de la Madeleine: 2,000 m (see graphic below)
Stage 3 of this epic cycling challenge took place yesterday, Tuesday 31st July 2012. The race organisers would not let the final day be anything but gruelling and, following a relatively flat 30 km cycle, the teams were faced with the ascent of Col de la Madeleine; a huge 2,000 m climb which tested the grit and determination of our team. And that was just the first section of the day!
Reaching the top of Col de la Madeleine accounts for over 20 km of horizontal distance covered. When you consider that the entire distance is at a consistent gradient of 7.5%, it is not difficult to see why this was an imposing challenge for our team.
Craig Preece, who lost his leg to an IED blast, said that these prolonged climbs are his biggest challenge: “You get a lot of power from your calf when you are climbing hills on your bike. I’m obviously missing one calf, so I have half as much power. It means I had to push that bit harder than everyone else”.
What goes up must come down, meaning that following the ascent to the top of Col de la Madeleine there was a controlled descent as far as Saint Jean de Maurienne which is where the teams completed the final, punishing 20 km up-hill to the finish line, which is situated near Trois Etapes HQ,