This seems so surreal. In the twelve months that I’ve been writing these stage previews, I always wondered what it would feel like when they were done. The research alone has taken an extraordinary amount of time and I’ve learned so much about different parts of the world just by taking this task on. This is it: the final countdown: the final stage back into Paris and the Arc de Triomphe where the journey started eight hundred stages ago. It’s a stage with a load of climbing – what other way is there to bow out – but with over eleven hundred feet of descent on offer too, it’s a great way to end the journey: indeed, most of the climbing’s in the first half so the second half is a bit of a powerfest.
The rollout on the D40 west of Beaudrevalle hangs a left immediately onto the C2 Rue de la Vacheresse, which remains flat to La Folie Rigault before the road enters a bunch of hairpin bends that drop the road down three hundred feet to cross the L’Yvette river at three miles. Up the other side, the road climbs up between the steep sided hills north of La Croix de Fer, and even though the road descends briefly to La Fontaine Billehou at four miles, the climb quickly re-establishes itself up the switchbacks to Villiers le Bacle at five miles.
The route then remains lumpy flat as the D361, which the road has become in its latest incarnation of the route, makes its way past the eastern side of Toussus le Noble Airport at seven miles before heading further north to the La Bievre river ahead of a zigzag let/right combo of bends that takes the road past the left edge of the Foret Domaniale de Versailles. The airport is close to the administrative border between Essonne and Yvelines and the route crosses back into the latter as it approaches the airport.
Into Versailles at ten miles, the route hangs a right and starts the descent on what is effectively the final approach to Paris. Over the strangely named Duplex A86 autoroute at twelve miles, the road bends right past Viroflay shortly after, before winding its way through Chaville at thirteen miles, Val Saint Olaf a mile later then Sevres at the foot of the descent.
The route then crosses the La Seine river at fifteen miles before rolling into Boulogne Billancourt on a gentle incline. There, the road hangs a diagonal right/left onto the Boulevard Suchet that runs alongside the Bois de Boulogne park that is home to, amongst other things, Longchamps racecourse and the Chateau de Longchamp. At the top end of the park, the same straight road has become the Boulevard Lannes and it’s from there, as the route enters the big roundabout at Port Dauphine at the western end of the Avenue Foch, that Around The World takes the final right hand turn and makes its way along the avenue back to the Arc de Triomphe where the journey began eight hundred stages ago.
The carnival is over!
Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres
Ascent: 797 feet / 243 metres
RGT Magic Road: lG9xMhrr8fSD
Max elevation: 460 ft
Min elevation: 12 ft
Total climbing: 797 ft
Total descent: -1181 ft