Stage 14 takes the riders from Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule to Lyon,the stage is well described as rolling and is 191km long.
We have 5 cat 4 climbs and 2 cat 3s.The profile of the stage screams breakaway.We haven’t had a successful break,staying away from the start of the stage,in this Tour.It is very unusual to get to this stage of the race and not have a breakaway win.
The climbs are the Cote de Marcigny(1.9km at 4.9%),the Cote de la Croix Couverte(2.6km at 5.3%),the Cote de Thizy-les-Bourgs(1.7km at 8.2%),the Col du Pilon(6.3km at 4.4%),the Cote de Lozanne(2.5km at 4%),the Cote de la Duchere(1.6km at 4.1%) and the Cote de la Croix-Rousse(1.8km at 4.5%).
The cumulative effect of all these climbs will mean that the majority of the sprinters won’t make it.I don’t see Kittel or Cavendish being present at the end and have doubts about Greipel too.That means it will be up to Cannondale to chase the break,unless there is a threat to the GC in the break.Controlling a break like this will be very difficult but Sagan only has 1 stage win to his name and wants more.If they don’t fancy chasing I wouldn’t be surprised to see them place a rider in the break,even Sagan himself.
The break needs to contain some strong men and I would be very surprised if Juan Antonio Felcha wasn’t present.He has been in excellent form and this stage is very well suited to him.Europcar will have at least 1 man in the break and I would expect it to be Thomas Voeckler.He doesn’t seem to be climbing too well but these shorter climbs will be easy for him and I think when the route was announced he would have fancied this stage.Radioshack have 3 potentials for the break:Voigt,Didier and Bakelants.The French are crying out for a success so expect to see Jeremy Roy on the attack.Most teams have suitable contenders and we could see a very large group getting away.Other possibilites are Nordhaug,Navardauskas,Millar,Albasini,Westra,Bak and Delaplace.
If the break doesn’t manage to make it,then the sprint finish will be similar to stage 7 with Sagan fighting against Degenkolb,Bennati,Kwiatkowski amd Tony Gallopin.
This is a very hard stage to predict as it depends on the attitude of Cannondale and who makes it into the break!
We also have to worry about Team Sky being able to cope with the start of the stage.Teams will be after them after their poor showing today and we might see Movistar and Saxo trying something again.With Valverde moving down the GC he could try for the break and reduce his time gap.
Best to bet a bit on Sagan but also have a go at getting a rider in the break.
The bookies have Sagan as clear favourite with Voeckler 2nd favourite.