(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) John Eric Goff, University of Lynchburg (THE CONVERSATION) Imagine you begin pedaling from the start of Stage 12 of this year’s Tour de France. Your very first task would be to bike approximately 20.6 miles (33.2 kilometerskm) up to the peak of Col du Galibier in the French Alps while gaining around 4,281 feet (1,305 m) of elevation. But this is only the first of three big climbs in your day.