Pau > Pau 22.6km ITT
The race ends with a relatively flat ITT, just 209m of climbing over 22.6km.
Just about all the climbing comes in two lumps, 1.5km at 6.5% and 350m at 7%. This route would normally favour the TT specialists in the bunch but coming at the end of an eight-day race, and the day after the Tourmalet, some/one of the GC riders will sense a chance of going for the win.
It looks like rain in the morning and early afternoon, but it should stop for the later starters.
Demi Vollering – doesn’t have to go crazy, but pride is a huge motivating factor. As expected, Vollering put everyone to the sword today, it wouldn’t surprise me if she did a very good TT. If the forecast is correct, she’ll get the best of the weather, which could help her to another win.
Marlen Reusser – as Van Dijk isn’t here, Reusser will likely start as the favourite to win this stage. She’s ridden well this week, playing a big role in the team success. The weather forecast will be a concern, but that is out of her hands. Riding a TT in isolation is one thing, doing one at the end of the Tour de France is completely different. Reusser, and the other TT experts, will have to see how much they’ve got left in their legs.
Grace Brown – hasn’t been at her best during the race, potentially saving energy for this stage. Last year, she got within 12 seconds of winning the world championship, and as Van Dijk isn’t here, Brown will start as the favourite in many people’s eyes. She’s the Aussie champion, and the current Commonwealth champion, winning this stage would be an enormous statement by her ahead of Glasgow.
Lucinda Brand – won the recent TT in the Baloise Tour, good form cannot be ignored. That race didn’t feature the big hitters we have here, a top 10 would be a good result for Brand.
Anna Henderson – 2nd to Brand in the Baloise Tour, Henderson is another who should be fighting for the top 10, top 5 on a really good day.
Emma Norsgaard – she’s already got a stage win, thanks to her magnificent ride on Thursday. Riding without pressure can often result in a good result, we’ll have to see if Norsgaard can pull another big ride out the bag.
Riejanne Markus – she’s the Dutch TT champion, beating Vollering by 55s over 42km back in June. The Tour hasn’t gone exactly to plan, but a big ride in the TT can see her jump up the GC standings. I think she’ll have her eyes set on the stage win, which would be a huge result.
Vittoria Guazzini – 4th at the world championship last year, the Italian will be hoping to find those legs again.
Lotte Kopecky – given her current shape, Kopecky cannot be discounted as a favourite to win this stage. She’s not a TT specialist, but she’s capable of doing everything to a very high level.
Given it’s the final stage, I think the gaps will be small, but what I saw today convinced me that a TT specialist still has great legs.
A big win for Marlen Reusser.