CORMET DE ROSELEND, France (July 19) - While Lance Armstrong was chasing teammate Alberto Contador up the climb to Verbier Sunday, athletes of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, including World Champions Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) were previewing Wednesday's stage 17 of the Tour de France from Bourg-Ste.-Maurice to Le Grand-Bornand, one of the massive alpine stages of the Tour. The team is kicking off a camp in nearby Courchevel and taking time off as the Tour comes through the Alps.
Sunday's ride took the the team up the Cormet de Roselend, one of the first climbs in Wednesday's stage 17. Monday, they'll be on the 1992 Olympic jumps in Courchevel followed by a leisurely ride up the Col de la Madeleine - one of the most feared, steep mountain climbs in the history of the Tour de France. While not in this year's program, the Col de la Madeline has made or broken many cyclists' Tours, climbing steeply up to 2,000 meters in the mountains southwest of Albertville.
Tuesday the Team plans to station itself at the top of the last climb, the Col du Petit San Bernard. In Wednesday's final big mountain stage, Coach Dave Jarrett is looking at the Col de Les Saises, then catching the individual time trial Thursday after jump training in Annecy.
"This is a great opportunity for us to get in some training on the jumps in Courchevel and to get motivated by seeing some of the greatest athletes in the world in the Tour," siad Jarrett. The team's also planning a ride up the staggering Galibier and a team time trial up the feared Alpe d'Huez.