Mapping by RouteYou
Ajaccio to Calvi : 1 July 2013
To the left is a rather steep drop over a low or no barrier into the Mediterranean and to the right are cliffs. Well it's not true of the entire stage but I suspect that's what most will remember about stage 3 whether rider or TV spectator. It was truly spectacular even though by Tour standards it's a relatively short stage.
Rolling out from the centre of Ajaccio the course heads north. As the profile shows it's a series of lumps that includes five cols two of which are catagorized Tour climbs.
Initially the route went inland a little and after 18km over the Col de San Bastiano at 415m with a maximum gradient 10%. Following the descent there's the most flat the stage could offer until the ascent of the Col de San Martino at 429m, maximum gradient of 8% just before the village of Piana. The Tour entered a UNESCO World Heritage site and the TV pictures showed why (see my gallery).
The road is back next to the sea and the most amazing 'red rock' scenary.
The stage stayed with the coast until the Col de Palmarella at 374m. First however they went up and over the Col de la Croix at 272m. This Col is famous as it's the only way other than by boat to get to the lovely seaside village of Girolata and, you have to walk as there's no road. Local legend has it that a retired French Legionaire runs in and out with the post on a daily basis.
After the Palmarella the road dropped into the start of the Fango Valley. Over the bridge and back inland for the final climb en Corse, the Col de Marsilino, 443m. This was the toughest climb of the day with a maximum gradient of 11% and a couple of kilometres before the Col where they averaged plus 7%.
Downhill and past the airport to a finish just outside Calvi where Simon Gerrans of Orica GreenEdge took the sprint finish. What a few days en Corse!
© M.Lund 2013-17