Tough celebration for 100th anniversary of first Alpine stage

The cyclists in the peloton are likely to feel a little light-headed on Thursday, and it won't be from the exhilaration of riding in the Tour de France.

The Stage 18 route visits two “beyond category” and a mountain top finish that is at  2,645 meters — about 8,600 feet where the air is starting to get a little thin.

This is a great way to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Tour's first visit to the Alps, although the cyclists will be too winded to blow out the candles.

There's only one more Alpine stage and the individual time trial in Grenoble before the Tour ends in Paris on Sunday, so expect to see Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and/or Frank Schleck make their big move today.

The three climbs on Thursday are Col Agnel and Col d'Izoard with the finish on the Galibier. [If you didn't get enough of the Galibier on Thursday, the peloton revisits it on Friday.]

These are heady times for Cycling the Alps website, and it has 3D flyover views and Street Views of all the climbs on Thursday. Below is the Street View of the climb the riders will see as they struggle up the Galibier.

Here's a 3D flyover view of the Galibier (you'll need Google Earth to see this).

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