The mountain pass in the French Alps is one of the hardest and highest places ever tackled in the French Grand Tour, and has only ever featured once before, in 2020. It includes a road that was previously used by a mechanical ski lift.
Two years ago, on stage 17, Miguel Ángel López took the victory and Primož Roglič tightened his grip on the yellow jersey, gaining time on Tadej Pogačar, although we all know how that race ended.
Next year will see its second ascent as part of the Tour, according to the Dauphinē Libéré and only the third time that it has ever been used in a bike race, after its inclusion in the 2019 Tour de l'Avenir.
Speaking after he had finished second that day, Roglič said: "That was a really brutal climb in the last 3 or 4km, You can't compare it with anything. I'm glad it's behind us now."
In an Instagram caption, the Slovenian also described the climb as a "monster", saying he was glad to put it behind him.
The Col de la Loze is 21.5km-long with an average gradient of almost eight per cent, but the details show that it is even tougher than that.
Starting at 7.8 per cent, the first 8km of the climb holds at around around seven percent, before a very slight easing between the nine and 12km marks, with the gradients dropping to between four and six per cent.
But things only get harder the closer the riders get to the line.
From kilometre 17 the road ramps up to a brutal 11 per cent, dropping only slightly to 9.5 per cent in the final 3km. It’s in those final three thousand metres of the stage that the peloton will hit the steepest parts of the climb - a 24 per cent ramp at kilometre 19 followed by an 18 per cent slope 1,500m from the finish.
In the final 3km the riders hit a 24 per cent ramp, followed by an 18 per cent slope 1,500m from the finish.
It is one of the hardest climbs ever featured in the Tour. “When we did the recon [of the Col de la Loze] in the car, we realised we had something exceptional in front of us,” tour director Thierry Gouvenou told Rouleur earlier this year.
Unlike in 2020, the stage will not finish atop the mountain, but instead at Courchevel Altiport, according to reports.
That has been used twice before, with the fresh-faced Alejandro Valverde winning there in 2005, Marco Pantani in 2000, and Richard Virenque in 1997. Riders like Roglič, Pogačar and defending champion Jonas Vingegaard will be looking to add their names to that list in July next year.
The full route announcement takes place this Thursday.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1