After a couple of leg biters, it’s nice to get some respite in the form of an average day in the saddle. The journey is averaging 514ft of climbing to date, and stage 97 has 558 feet to add to that.
The rollout from Luzhki is everything that you’ve become accustomed to of late: it’s a killer. The first three miles rise at a hundred feet a mile, and by the time you pass through Krest’yanka Selo at four miles, you’ve already done two thirds of the climbing for the stage. The descent back down is much less steep, and it bottoms out at the junction leading to Ochaikha in the north.
Away from the junction, the road climbs back up to Berezeki at ten miles before another flattening descent delivers you to the yellow kite and the town of Vargany. With most of the climbing done, there’s a small rise up to Anatol’yevka before a slightly more testing climb takes you to L’vovo at sixteen miles: eight miles to go and most of it is downhill.
The descent is interrupted by a one mile climb up to Sarayki at eighteen miles but thereafter it’s pretty much plain sailing all the way to the line. Junctions pass right and left, to Lipovka and Chuguny respectively, then the highway passes by Yuzhnyy just a mile from the finish.
Stage 97 may have been a breather after the last couple of stages, but the respite is short lived: it’s back to the heavy duty stuff next time out.
Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres
Ascent: 558 feet / 170 metres
RGT Magic Road: 4OK2Dt3bt7Fq
Max elevation: 775 ft
Min elevation: 428 ft
Total climbing: 557 ft
Total descent: -525 ft