Today is a special day. Today is the penultimate stage 18 of the 2017, Tour de France. This is the mountain stage which will ultimately decide the final winner of the general classification. Starting out in, Briancon, riders will make their way across 179.5kmof the French alps before finishing a top of the Col D'Izoard.
Located in the Hautes- Alpes region, the Col D'Izoard is a boasts a Hors Categore (HC) classification. In fact the term HC means that the climb is beyond categorization! What does HC mean? This historic classification had been reserved only for roads which could not be passed by motor vehicle.
Although the Tour officially measures the climb from Pied de Col, riders will approach the climb from the south in Guillestre, before ascending a total of 1335 meters over 31.5 kilometers at an average 4.8% gradient in order to reach the summit . Whomever adorns the yellow jersey after this stage is likely to be crowned GC victor on the Champes De Elysee only a few days later. Aside from its frequent contribution to the relentless suffering experienced in the Tour de France, the Col D'Izoard is recognized by its desert cap with its arrid climate and exposed rock formations.
Although they climbed the Col D'Izoard from the less popular northern approach the Col Collective have a great video on the climb which helps give a sense to the views and grandeur of the Col D'Izoard. Watch it here.
To mark and celebrate what is surely to be the deciding stage of this years Tour, Mavic have release the 3rd and final installment this years limited edition Cosmic Pro cycling shoes. These limited editions are reserved to about 800 pairs globally which make them quite rare out on the road.
Tech: Col D'Izoard vs the rest
This final piece to the selective collection uses the same bonded upper with the Energy Frame, the Endofit tongue, Ergo Dial QRs, and the Energy Carbon outsole as used in their Paris Nice or Paris Roubaix editions. Because these are the same features as the previous editions, check out my previous posts for greater details.
Without question, the most striking feature of the Mavic Cosmic Pro LTD - Col D'Izoard shoe is the graphics. Once again, a definite departure from the conservative colorways of cycling footwear, Mavic flaunt bold hues of blue and brown - obviously inspired by the skies and desert like rock formations on the peaks of Col D'Izoard.
From the side, the graphic design presents a view of mountain peaks through a series of color blocks. To me the style is reminiscent of 70s contemporary art prints. The front toe section of the shoe transitions a deep rich blue through to an almost electric royal blue at the heel. The lower mid foot to lower heel adorn color blocked shades of sand and brown to express the shapes of mountain peaks. Overall these alpine inspired graphics are carried across both the left and right sides. But from the top down, the on foot view of the wearer, the Mavic Cosmic Pro LTD - Col D'Izoard shoes are a much more subtle design which means they'll be less distracting on while pedalling away.
Of all the limited edition Mavic shoes, the branding on the Col D'Izoard may the most well executed. The boldest would have to be the original 2016 edition and the most notable would go to the high contrast yellow on black of the Paris Roubaix edition. However, in this latest rendition, the yellow stripe across the heel with its french flag cap seem to be the almostperfect accent to its alpine print. In an almost elongated fashion, the yellow stripe of the heel wraps under the foot and onto the sole where it again finishes with a French flag. The Energy carbon sole also contains product feature info printed on it.
The closure on the upper foot continues to sport the yellow Mavic bar logo and the Ergo Fit 3D insole by Ortholite has a final Mavic yellow bar logo as well as "Briancon - Izoard 2017" printed inside.
In my write up of the Paris Nice edition of the Mavic Cosmic Pro LTD, I wrote that the shoes have a more subtle shaping to their last which worked well with my relatively flat feet. Thankfully the shaping of the Mavic Cosmic Pro last has not since changed and the comfort level remains high. In the many miles I've put in the various editions of the Cosmic Pro I've come to really enjoy the roomy toe box and the locked in feeling courtesy of the Endofit tongue.
If you're like me and your feet seem to change shape and volume over the course of a ride, the two way adjustable Ergo Dial QR are a key contributor to a positive experience. The Ergo Dials adjust in small increments to both tighten and loosen the shoe so you can lock down for a sprint or open up for some reprieve.
Who are the Cosmic Pro LTD shoes right for? If you're looking a lightweight performance oriented shoe packed full of features, bold eye catching graphics, and a very low chance of seeing anyone else in the same kicks - then you might want to catch a pair before they're gone. I'll have a full in-depth review of the Cosmic Pro LTD after the season is done. Stay tuned.