La Planche des Belles Filles

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La Planche des Belles Filles
The western side of the mountain, seen from Ronchamp
The western side of the mountain, seen from Ronchamp
LocationPlancher-les-Mines, Haute-Saône
Nearest major cityBelfort
Coordinates47°46′20″N 6°46′40″E / 47.77222°N 6.77778°E / 47.77222; 6.77778
Top elevation1,148 m (3,766 ft)

La Planche des Belles Filles (French pronunciation: ​[la plɑ̃ʃ de bɛl fij]) is a ski station in the Vosges Mountains, in France. It is located in the Haute-Saône département. Since 2012, the climb to the summit has been used several times during the Tour de France cycle race.

Etymology and legend[edit]

Statue commemorating legend

The name Belles Filles literally means "daughters in law", but is actually derived from the local plant life. The mountain is attested from the 16th century as lieu peuplé de belles fahys, a "place inhabited with nice beech trees" in the local dialect. Belles fahys later became corrupted into Belles Filles, though there remains a nearby village of Belfahy. Meanwhile, Planche, "board", is derived from the nearby small town of Plancher-les-Mines.

A folk etymology, in contrast, holds that the mountain took its name from the time of the Thirty Years' War. According to legend, young women from Plancher-les-Mines fled into the mountains to escape Swedish mercenaries as they feared being raped and massacred. Rather than surrender, they decided to commit suicide and jumped into a lake far below. One of the soldiers then took a board on which, with his dagger, he engraved an epitaph for the "beautiful girls".[1][2] A wooden statue, created by a local artist, is a reminder of the legend.[3]

Cycle racing[edit]

From Plancher-les-Mines the climb to the finish at 1,035 m (3,396 ft) is 5.9 km (3.7 mi) long, gaining 503 m (1,650 ft) and averages 8.5% with a maximum of 14%,[4] but with a short stretch from 22% to 28% near the finish.[5]

Tour de France[edit]

La Planche des Belles Filles was first used as a finish in Stage 7 in the 2012 Tour de France, 199 km (124 mi) from Tomblaine on 7 July.[4] The stage was won by Chris Froome with his Team Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins taking the race lead.[6] The steep finish proved popular, and it quickly became a popular climb among cycling fans.[7] The climb has since been used frequently; in 2014 it was the finish of Stage 10 and won by then race leader Vincenzo Nibali;[8][9] in 2017 it was the finish of Stage 5 of the Tour, with Fabio Aru winning by 16 seconds from Dan Martin, and Chris Froome taking the yellow jersey.[10] It featured again in 2019, won by Dylan Teuns.

It became the stage finish in a mountain time-trial in stage 20 of the 2020 Tour de France, which was won by Tadej Pogačar, who also took the yellow jersey and the polka-dot jersey.[11]

Year Stage Start of stage Distance (km) Category Stage winner Yellow jersey
2020 20 Lure 36.2 (ITT) 1  Tadej Pogačar (SLO)  Tadej Pogačar (SLO)
2019 6 Mulhouse 160.5 1  Dylan Teuns (BEL)  Giulio Ciccone (ITA)
2017 5 Vittel 160.5 1  Fabio Aru (ITA)  Chris Froome (GBR)
2014 10 Mulhouse 161.5 1  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
2012 7 Tomblaine 199 1  Chris Froome (GBR)  Bradley Wiggins (GBR)

Le Tour de France Femmes[edit]

La Planche des Belles Filles will feature in the premiere event of Le Tour de France Femmes in 2022 as the finish of the final stage (stage 8) on July 31.[12]


  1. ^ "Légende de La Planche des Belles Filles" (PDF) (in French). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  2. ^ "La légende . . " (in French). Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Sculpture de Jacques Pissenem". Légende de la Planche des Belles Filles (in French). Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Stage 7: Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  5. ^ MacMichael, Simon (4 July 2012). "TDF Stage 7: Video Preview - La Planche des Belles Filles". Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins takes yellow jersey". BBC Sport. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  7. ^ shrubshall, Stephen (11 July 2019). "La Planche des Belles Filles: Taking on the Tour's brutal summit finish". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Le tracé tour de France 2014" (in French). 23 October 2013.
  9. ^ "La Planche des Belles Filles dans le Tour de France" (in French). ledicodutour. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Tour de France: Aru wins on La Planche des Belles Filles". Immediate Media Company. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Pogacar storms to maillot jaune on stage 20 as Roglic's Tour de France bid collapses". 19 September 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Stage 8 - Lure > la Super Planche des Belles Filles - Tour de France Femmes 2022".

External links[edit]