2023 Tour de France Stage 16 Preview

Passy > Combloux 22.3km ITT

A relatively short TT for the Tour de France, the only one in the whole race, but it’s still going to be a very hard effort for all the riders. 22km in length, with 647m of climbing, this is far too hard for the big TT specialists, it’s another stage for the GC riders, and Wout. Sunday’s stage has left us wanting more, Vingegaard and Pogačar are still only separated by 10 seconds, in what is becoming the closest Tour de France in many years. 


Sunny, hot, and a risk of showers throughout the afternoon. There’s not much wind, but it will be headwind up the final climb. 


The route has two climbs, 1.55km at 8.6% and 6km at 6.9%. It’s the climb to the finish which makes this a day for the GC riders, non-climbers will lose bucket loads of time here. There’s only around 4km of descending in the whole route, hardly any time for riders to go easy and recover. Pacing is very important, energy must be saved for the final climb, those that start too hot could die a million deaths in the final 5km. 

The categorised section of the final climb is 2.5km at 9.2%, the rest of it is much easier, but it’s still going to be hard. Teams will have to decide if they want to switch onto road bikes at the foot of the climb, I think quite a few will make that choice. The start of the climb is very steep, being on a road bike will gain enough time to make the switch worthwhile. 


Tadej Pogačar – in what has been an ever-changing fight for the yellow jersey, the momentum after the weekend has swung a little to his rival, but that could all change after the TT. Pogačar is normally incredibly strong in this discipline, especially in the Tour de France. He won a relatively flat TT back in 2021, and despite being down and out, he was 3rd in the final TT last year. He can produce incredible watts on the flat, but this stage will be decided by the final climb. As he and Vingegaard have been hard to separate in the last week, I think the winner of this stage could be decided by a very small margin. UAE have good equipment, their TT performances this year have been much better than previous seasons. Tadej will start in the white jersey skinsuit, it’s not as fast as his own, but Vingegaard is in the same boat, it’s all to do with who’s got the best legs on the day. 

Jonas Vingegaard – his response to the attack on Sunday was huge, especially his own move past Pogačar in the final corner, and the subsequent look. Vingegaard’s last TT was in the Dauphiné, where he surprisingly lost to Mikkel Bjerg, it wasn’t his best day in this discipline. His track record isn’t as strong as Pogačar, but a TT at this point in the Tour de France is totally different to anything else in the season. Last year, he could have won the final TT, but went a little easy to “gift” the win to Van Aert. Jumbo-Visma spend a lot of time looking at TTs, spending time and money on the correct feeding strategy for the day, and how to pace this effort. Jonas will start in the yellow skinsuit, but as I’ve already said, it’s the same as Pogačar, so no advantage/disadvantage for either of them. Vingegaard would love to win the stage and put more time into Pogačar, but I think he’ll also be happy if he ends the day still in the yellow jersey. 

Wout Van Aert – the only non-GC rider who has a chance of taking the win, but I don’t think he will. He’s climbing incredibly well, but as the TT is mainly about the final climb, he’ll lose too much to the proper climbers in the race. He could still finish in the top 3, but I think the win isn’t a realistic ambition. 

Carlos Rodríguez – the young Spaniard is climbing incredibly well, but he’s got Adam Yates breathing down his neck. The good news is that he’s an excellent TT rider. In last year’s flat TT at the Vuelta, he was 4th, which was an incredible result. Given how he’s performed this weekend, he’ll be hoping to consolidate his 3rd place on GC. He’ll also benefit from wearing his own skinsuit. 

Adam Yates – he’s ridden a brilliant race, the final podium is a realistic ambition, even though the main focus is helping Pogačar win yellow. Ever since he moved to Ineos in 2021, his performance in this discipline has significantly improved. This year he continued that upward trajectory by finishing 3rd in the Romandie TT and 8th in the Dauphiné, but can he put time into Rodríguez and move into 3rd place on GC?  

Simon Yates – he started to creak at the weekend, hopefully the rest day has allowed him to recover for the final week. He’s another with a good record in this discipline, but at this point in the Tour de France it’s very hard to turn things around once you have problems in the mountains. 

Pello Bilbao – after a brilliant race, the Basque climber sits 7th on GC, with his sights set on the top 5. Bilbao has long been a good TT rider, nothing more, nothing less. I expect him to put in a solid time, top 10 on the stage, and potentially move closer to the top 5. 

Jai Hindley – he’s another who’s starting to slip and slide, at least he’s got the excuse of crashing on Saturday. Hindley looked secure in 3rd place, but he’s now 5th and looking over his shoulder. This year he’s put in some decent TT rides, the best in his career, but he’s still far off the very best. Hopefully the rest day has allowed him to recover from his injury and he can start looking forward instead of behind. 

Prediction Time 

The top 2 will blow everyone else away, but who’ll get the win? 

Embed from Getty Images

I’ll go with Jonas Vingegaard