Les Gets > Saint-Gervais 179km
The third consecutive mountain stage, and after what happened today, who’s got anything left? As usual, they’ll be a big fight for the break, there’s a good chance those in the move will fight for the stage win. Some of the big breakaway riders went very deep today, those who were saving energy will have an advantage in this stage.
Another hot one, temperatures will peak at 28 degrees.
This is the climb the riders face right from the gun. If you want to make the break, you’ll need a good position behind the race director’s car.
This is the next climb of the day, it comes after 30km. It’s not categorised, but if the break hasn’t formed yet, this is where it goes.
Col de la Croix Fry is a tough climb, but it’s too far from the finish to have a significant impact in the day.
This is the final 11.3km of the stage, it contains a cat 2 and cat 1 climb. First up is Côte des Amernands, 2.7km at 10.1%, then there’s a blink and you miss it descent, before the climb up to Mont Blanc, which is 7.7km at 7%. It’s another tough day on the bike.
Well then, what a stage that was. Jumbo-Visma made the day as hard as possible to try and weaken the power of Pogačar, the team did an excellent job. They would have loved Vingegaard to have dropped him, but it shows just how even these two are. Will either team look to control this stage to bring bonus seconds into play? Given how much energy has been expended in the last two stages, I can’t see either team wanting to do so, which is great news for the break.
Once the move goes, Jumbo-Visma will take control of the peloton and I imagine they’ll choose to make it an easy day. UAE will take it over for the finale, hoping that Pogačar can distance Vingegaard in the sprint for the line. There’s a very steep section inside the final 300m, which is where Pogačar can make his move, it’s amazing to see the yellow jersey battle come down to a handful of seconds.
Of course, there’s a little bit inside me that wishes Jumbo-Visma do the same as they did today. There’s a lot of climbing in this stage, but it’s not as hard, which will likely put them off. UAE made a mess of controlling Friday’s stage, but they might decide the risk is worth the reward. The problem they have is the start of the stage, the team are awful at break management. If the break turns out to be small (sounds mad but it can happen) UAE will try to chase it down, but the move should be big and disappear up the road. That will leave everyone waiting for the end of the stage to see if Pogačar can take some time back before the rest day.
Pierre Latour – 2nd the day Michael Woods won; he’s got the legs, but does he have the head? This is a rider who’s had to fight his demons, because of a series of crashes. Due to this, he’s terrible going downhill, but this is a stage that should suit him, there’s not that much descending to do in important points in the race.
Jack Haig – Bahrain are still trying to win the team classification, they’ll want someone in the break. Haig is a good choice, if he’s got some energy left. This is a guy who rode the Giro, then the Dauphiné, before heading to the Tour. He must be close to exhaustion, but these pros never cease to amaze me.
Wout Van Aert – it all depends on team tactics. I’m praying Jumbo-Visma give him some freedom. He’s still desperate to win a stage, but he’ll understand that he might be needed for the final climb.
Jonathan Castroviejo – Ineos are also in the fight for the team classification. Castro hasn’t made a breakaway yet, hopefully he’s got some energy to go big for this one.
Rigoberto Urán – I’ve barely seen him in the race, which could be a good thing. He’s a rider with a huge amount of experience, as others as getting tired, he could be getting stronger.
Mattias Skjelmose – first Tour, what’s he got left? As you’ll know, I’m a big fan of Mattias, I’m hoping he can fight for this stage. He complained of a sore back earlier in the race, but he’s looked better in recent stages, hopefully he’s on a good day and can fight for the win.
Rui Costa – another who’s ghosted through the race. Now that Meintjes is out, all eyes will be on him, he’s Intermarché’s only hope of a win.
Giulio Ciccone – had amazing legs today, but did he use up too much energy?
Thibaut Pinot – same as Ciccone, but Pinot has a good record performing well in consecutive stages.
Jonas Vingegaard – given the finish, I don’t think he can beat Pogačar for the stage, but he should be able to hold onto yellow. However, with the TT on Tuesday, maybe it would be better losing the jersey and using his own skinsuit!
Tadej Pogačar – if UAE can hold the race together, he wins the stage, but will they do so? We still have an enormous stage on Wednesday, I really don’t know if the team will risk using up more energy in this stage. As I’ve already said, it depends on the size of the break.
I think this is another stage for the breakaway.
I’ll take a win for Giulio Ciccone. When he hits form like this he’s very hard to beat. Back in the GC group, Pogačar will struggle to take more than the odd second.