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Tour de France 2022 - Stages & Discussion - Week 3
                     

Stage Type Date Start / Finish Distance
16      #med      Tue. 07/19      Carcassonne > Foix      178.5 km
17      #mountain      Wed. 07/20      Saint-Gaudens > Peyragudes      130 km
18      #mountain      Thu. 07/21      Lourdes > Hautacam      143.5 km
19      #flat      Fri. 07/22      Castelnau-Magnoac > Cahors      188.5 km
20      #tt      Sat. 07/23      Lacapelle-Marival > Rocamadour      40.7 km
21      #flat      Sun. 07/24      Paris La Défense Arena > Paris Champs-Élysées      116 km
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

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    Should hopefully be a fun week, with a close battle for the win. My usual (although now less regular ;) ) look at the minor classification unfortunately doesn't make much sense, as #white is the same as #yellow anyway these days, #green is long decided, and the team classification basically a done deal (#ineos) as well, especially after Jumbo lost two of their best climbers.

    But #kom could be exciting :)

    Rank Rider Points
    1      #kom   Simon GESCHKE      46 PTS
    2      #iwg   Louis MEINTJES      39 PTS
    3      #ef   Neilson POWLESS      37 PTS
    4      #jumbo   Jonas VINGEGAARD      36 PTS
    5      #trek   Giulio CICCONE      35 PTS
    6      #total   Pierre LATOUR      35 PTS
    7      #ineos   Thomas PIDCOCK      28 PTS
    8      #cofidis   Anthony PEREZ      26 PTS
    9      #uae   Tadey POGACAR      26 PTS
    10      #israel   Chris FROOME      22 PTS
    11      #ag2r   Bob JUNGELS      18 PTS
    12      #jumbo   Wout VAN AERT      17 PTS
    13      #ineos   Geraint THOMAS      16 PTS
    14      #groupama   Thibaut PINOT      16 PTS
    15      #arkea   Nairo QUINTANA      15 PTS

    There are three more mountain stages to come this week:



    Points Underway Points at the Finish
    Stage 16      2+3+10+10      -
    Stage 17      10+5+10      10
    Stage 18      20+10      20

    ASO got rid of double points this year, and it looks like they get a bit of a snail race as payback for that. The GC riders don't score much as the breakaways tend to go to the finish, and most others up the ranking don't score much anymore, as they look totally done, and only keep their position because they send team mates up the front to defend their chance to win. I initially liked Meintjes chances, but those are probably gone now since #jumbo invited him back into podium contention.

    Dani Martinez looked on track to recover from his health problems, and if he does, is probably the best climber free to escape - but from 0 points it's a (too) long way to the top as well.

    In conclusion: no idea who's gonna win this. Geschke looks super tired, but another 10-15 points could be enough already.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Two things of concern as we head into the final week.

    1) Covid testing from today's rest day: Will more riders be sent home?

    2) Soaring temps and forest fires: Is it full steam ahead, or have there been any discussions of contingency plans should things become unbearable?
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  • Leadbelly

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    1) Covid testing from today's rest day: Will more riders be sent home?

    https://twitter.com/UCI_media/status/1548963955044925442

    Two riders (not in the top-20 in GC) have pinged and a decision will be made tomorrow regarding their future participation.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Two riders (not in the top-20 in GC) have pinged and a decision will be made tomorrow regarding their future participation.

    The first thing I looked up: Sepp Kuss - 21st place.  :o
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 16: Carcassonne - Foix 178.5km

    Start Time: 12-30CET.

    The first day in the Pyrenees could be a good moment for breakaway riders... provided that they’re well equipped to deal with the mountains, of course. So, don’t expect the GC leaders to make a big deal of this first day in the Pyrénées. They will be happy to see a breakaway succeed and reserve their strength for the monster climbs ahead.



    The opening 110 kilometers include a couple of small climbs and a sprint that will allow a break to form. To celebrate victory in Foix, the riders will first have to deal with the climb to the Port de Lers and then make their move on the Mur de Péguère. The Mur de Péguère is very steep, very narrow, and access will be prohibited to the public, as was the case in 2017. The 20 or so kilometres from the summit towards the administrative centre of the Ariège aren’t particularly testing.
    This century has seen three Tour de France stage finishes in Foix. In 2008, Kurt Asle Arvesen took the spoils; in 2012, it was Luis León Sánchez who turned out on top; and in 2017 Warren Barguil outgunned Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Mikel Landa. On all occasions, the winner came from the breakaway.
    The finale of the last two races to Foix was identical.



    The Climbs:

    The Port de Lers is a 11.4 kilometres ascent with an average gradient of 7%.



    The Mur de Péguère is a killer. The first 6 km are easy and steady, but it follows with 3,5 km at 11,9% average, one kilometre at 13% and a steepest sector at 18%.



    Final Kms.

    The first rider over the top enters a flying descent of 17 kilometres. The downhill flattens out a little in the last 10 kilometres, but still, the road continues to go downhill. So a finish at breakneck speeds is to be expected.





    What to Expect:

    This looks set up for a very long battle to get into the break. If strong climbers who can descend make it, then expect the breakaway to take the spoils. If the breakaway tussle goes on until the terrain changes, then it's possible that the GC teams may still be within reach to contest the finale.
    I favour the former.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

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    I'd also think a breakaway day is more likely.

    In 2012 they did a little loop around Foix, btw, so ~10k more from the top to the finish.
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  • Leadbelly

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    In 2012 they did a little loop around Foix, btw, so ~10k more from the top to the finish.

    Encore une Foix? :dizzy

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  • t-72

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    Two riders (not in the top-20 in GC) have pinged and a decision will be made tomorrow regarding their future participation.

    The first thing I looked up: Sepp Kuss - 21st place.  :o

    Sorry guys, for jinxing this in the chat Sunday, when I asked the rest of the chat how covid is affecting everyday life around where they live.

    I am one of those who returned a positive covid test today.  :(  :S :angry :gesink
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  • Leadbelly

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    I am one of those who returned a positive covid test today.  :(  :S :angry :gesink

    That's all right t-72, we'll allow you into the chatroom tomorrow. Just sit in the far distant corner with Echoes.
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  • t-72

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    That's all right t-72, we'll allow you into the chatroom tomorrow. Just sit in the far distant corner with Echoes.

    Is Echoes also ill?
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  • Leadbelly

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    Going by the shoutbox, yes.

    It would pretty cruel of me to have him sitting with you if he wasn't. :P
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    In today's Telegraph, a a "sporting director at a rival team who did not wish to be named" analysed #ineos Thomas' path to a potential 2n Tour title:

    Quote
    Why Thomas must risk it all if he wants to repeat Paris glory

    Welshman says there is no point in ‘attacking for the TV cameras’, but the third-placed rider may not have any choice

    The Tour de France has entered its final week, with Geraint Thomas third, 2min 43sec behind leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-visma) and just 21 seconds behind Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).

    Should the Welshman, and his Ineos Grenadiers team, protect that place and follow wheels, hoping for one or both of the riders ahead to slip up? Or should they risk it all going for a famous victory?

    Thomas suggested on the rest day yesterday that he was prepared to do the latter. But he stressed there was no point in “attacking just for the sake of attacking – for the TV cameras”. It had to be well thought out.

    Here, are his final-week options:

    Let Pogacar and Vingegaard trade blows, then swoop

    The safe option. And pretty much what Ineos have been doing. With

    Vingegaard and Pogacar clearly the two strongest riders, and with Pogacar never going to settle for second place, it makes sense to let the Slovenian and his UAE team throw the kitchen sink at Vingegaard and see what happens. If they knock each other out, Thomas could be there to pick up the pieces.

    “Yeah, there is the possibility that it’s the third-dog-that-wins-thebone type situation,” agrees a sporting director at a rival team who did not wish to be named. “But I don’t think that comes from Ineos letting Pogacar and Vingegaard blow each other out. I don’t see that happening to be honest. They’re too strong.

    “I think Ineos have to take the fight to them if they want to win. I would say it’s going to take a huge move from Ineos to win this Tour. A Froome-at-the-2019-giro-esque move [when Froome famously turned the race on its head with a long-range solo attack from 80km on stage 19].”

    Use Ganna as a weapon

    Jumbo have arguably the rider of the race in Wout van Aert in their ranks.

    The super-strong Belgian played a key role last Wednesday when Vingegaard snatched the yellow jersey from Pogacar on the Col du Granon, getting in the day’s early break and then waiting for his team-mates and pulling hard for Jumbo in the last valley to soften up an already exhausted Pogacar ahead of the final climb.

    Ineos have their own turbo engine in Filippo Ganna, the world time-trial champion. But again, the sporting director does not see this as an option. “I haven’t seen a very good Ganna here to be honest,” he says. “Relative to how good he has been at races like the UAE Tour, for instance, where he was climbing in the first group.

    “I think a lot of riders are knackered because the speed in the race has been so high. And it’s not like you’ve got any valley roads in the Pyrenees anyway.”

    Form alliances

    If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em? Thomas revealed after the stage to Mende on Saturday that Pogacar had sounded him out about working together to attack Vingegaard. The 36-year-old says he is not averse to teaming up with anyone. “It’s not like Pogacar is going to be ringing me up the night before to discuss tactics,” he said. “But if the situation comes where, you know, it works for both of us then it is just like any other race.”

    The issue with teaming up with Pogacar to attack Vingegaard, or indeed Vingegaard to attack Pogacar, is that they are both ahead of Thomas on GC.

    The Welshman would likely gain only one place at best. He may fancy he can take time out of his rivals in the final-day 40km time trial to Rocamadour, but he cannot rely on that. “Vingegaard and Pogacar are a step ahead of Geraint in that TT anyway,” says the sporting director “He needs to take time before then if he wants to win this race.”

    Use Yates and Pidcock in a long-range attack

    If Ineos want to really go for it, they may have to devise and execute something more ambitious in the Pyrenees. Tom Pidcock, at eight minutes, might be allowed in the break. The real dream ticket would then be to get Adam Yates – who is in fifth place overall – up the road, too.

    “Yates is the obvious card to play,” agrees the sporting director. “On paper, Ineos should send Pidcock in the break and then try to launch Yates and just go with everything they have. Jumbo and UAE have the two strongest riders but they are both six-man teams now [Jumbo have lost two riders to Covid and UAE two to injury].

    “A big attack could see Yates and Pidcock both lose their top 10 positions. But if Ineos want to win this race they have to be prepared to gamble. I see Wednesday as a key day, with the four climbs, finishing on Peyragudes.”*

    https://pressreader.com/article/281715503345404
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  • Leadbelly

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    t-72

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    Ineos would be at a huge advantage in crosswinds. #jumbo still has a few riders good on flat land, but #uae have lost much of their strength for anything that is not tilted upwards. (Vegard Stake Laengen being the only dedicated flat land domestique on their team.)
    Stage 19 is flat, but the first part moves through wide open landscape and I have been thinking that this might have been designed so on purpose. The catch is that the course changes direction in the final parts. But hey, it worked in the Quatar World Championships, where there really was just a small piece of actual crosswinds (the «turn» at the end of the out-and-back loop).

    However, the forecasts I have been able to scoop up predict only light winds.
     
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    yeah, seems like there are some crosswinds for the first 15k or so, but that's about it. Could lead to a nervous start, but I'd be surprised if it has a major influence
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 17: Saint Gaudens - Peyragudes 129.7km

    Start Time: 13-15CET.

    Not even 130 km for the second day on the Pyrenees, that’s supposed to be the short and explosive day of the race, but the first 50 km are totally flat. All vertical metres are crammed together is the second part of the race. In fact, more than half of the last 76 kilometres go uphill. All of which means that by the time the race reaches the first climb, there will have been no respite as until Arreau, half the peloton will most surely attack, looking for the break.



    The Tour returns to Saint-Gaudens, one of the Pyrenean towns whose name is familiar to cycling fans. Last year, it was Austrian Patrick Konrad who took advantage of a successful breakaway to clinch the 16th stage from Andorra. The race is set to finish on the runway of the airport of Peyragudes. The altiport in the Pyrenees hosted a Tour de France stage in 2012 and 2017, yet earlier fame befell the place in 1997 with a scene in the James Bond-movie Tomorrow never Dies.
    In between, the riders tackle three intermediate climbs, including the often used, Col d'Aspin.



    The Climbs:

    The Col d'Aspin has been part of the Tour de France 71 times, largely because it is the middle link in a chain of three road climbs, the other links being the Col du Tourmalet (2,115 m (6,939 ft)) and Col de Peyresourde (1,569 m (5,148 ft)). The first time the Col d'Aspin was crossed was in 1910, when the leader over the summit was Octave Lapize.





    A 6 km valley will lead to Saint-Lary-Soulan where the Col d’Azet starts, arguably the hardest ascent of the day with its middle section of 6 km at 8,5%.



    Final Kms.
    The full finish climb is not the same as on the two previous occasions, although the last 2.4 kilometers are. An 8.4% average, including some brutal ascending with pitches as steep as 16 percent leading to the altiport at Peyragudes.





    What to Expect:

    Are we going to see the stage winner emerge from the breakaway, or will it be a GC rider? It depends largely on the place where the breakaway establishes itself. I suspect that the successful breakaway will not form until the slopes of the Aspin, so should contain some more than useful climbers, which ups the chances for the breakaway to be successful.
    Whether the break can gain sufficient time to avoid the inevitable GC battle, is another matter.
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  • t-72

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    I think we got our first really surprising stage winner today, although it was won in a very convincing way.
    #israel Israel - Premier Tech really seems to have hit it right, with the peak of their form curve so far this year right here in the Tour. Maybe some that know the team better can comment - is this the Chris Froome effect seen on team performance, finally? 
    (Jakob Fuglsang though - not on the same performance curve)



    As for the general classification, the anticipated attacks from #white Pogacar materialized already on the first of the two major climbs of the day. He was chased down by #yellow Vingegaard in person. In my opinion, I don't think either of them really wanted to go all out today, but Pogacar might have been willing to try to exploit the situation if his probing attacks revealed Vingegaard was having a bad day. That just wasn't the case, arguably Vingegaard looked stronger than Pogacar, on climbs which perhaps should have suited the Slovenian better.
    There was also an attempt at a downhill attack, but Vingegaard again managed to get onto Pogacars wheel and it all slowed down again.

    More important, #uae lost Marco Soler today - apparently he had problems with dehydration symptoms - and the rider everyone thought looked the strongest at the start of the Tour is now clearly left with the weaker team, on all terrains. The situation reminds me a lot of the years of the epic Contador vs Froome battles - 2013 and 2014 - in which (ok, controversial statement coming up  :angel) Froome as the stronger rider also had the strongest team in support and Contador was forced to try more and more high-stake bets, attacking at every opportunity etc.
     
    It didn't work out in 2013 and maybe it won't in 2022 either. In 2014 the duels climaxed at the Col du Beal, but - almost forgotten - this was in the Criterium de Dauphine and not the Tour de France. In the Tour, the 2 favorites worked themselves to some kind of self-destruction, already early in the race, and Nibali seized the opportunity with both arms and legs, winning the GC with the largest margin in the last couple of decades. (To be honest, the 2014 edition was also the most boring edition ever after the first week.)

    The question is of course, this year - can #ineos Geraint Thomas execute a shark attack on one of the final stages? So far this tour he has done nothing that I can remember - he only accelrates once a day, and that's at the start line. He has closed the gap to Vingegaard and Pogacar on many occasions just in time, and so he did today - with the help of Martinez he caught up with Vingegaard just when Vingegaard caught up with #green van Aert.

    For me the question remains, does he have anything up his sleeves we haven't seen (like an accelration and an attack) or is he just racing on his limit? Reportedly his performance statistics shows he is in the shape if his life, it may just be that the two younger captains are even better.

    A few riders dropped from any podium contention today, #ineos Yates, #bora Vlasov, #intermarche Meintjes and #dsm Bardet (at least the latter) and we will see less teams racing for the GC tomorrow. In particular, team DSM #dsm seems to be in good shape, with many domestiques looking a lot fresher than Bardet, expect them in the battle for the stage at Peyragudes.
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  • t-72

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    What to Expect:

    #uae Pogacar should keep his powder dry until the altiport, the low gradients on most of the climbs favor the stronger teams. The steep altiport could give him 20 seconds max - not enough, but at least it is a start.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Is this the Chris Froome effect seen on team performance, finally? 

    I don't think so really. It's probably a few things.

    There was a lot of illness in the team earlier in the season which impacted on their results greatly. A lot of that has gone now (fingers crossed) and we're seeing a truer level. Plus some of the riders could be a bit fresher after missing those races.

    Team selection and aims. I said when I saw the riders they had initially picked that I thought they had a good chance and despite Impey/Goldstein withdrawing late on I still felt that way. The way the race has panned out too has played in their favour with a lot of successful breaks.

    The opposition is out of form/missing? A fair few rivals for stage wins have DNFed and the ones that are left seem well out of form or are struggling in the heat. In the normal scheme of things there would have been 10+ of the riders in that break who should be beating Houle.
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  • Leadbelly

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    https://twitter.com/WielerFlits/status/1549645427598888960

    Sore knee for Majka after yesterday's chain snap.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Stage 18: Lourdes - Hautacam, 143.2Km :*:*:*:*:*

    Start Time: 13-30CET.

    The last high altitude test of the Tour de France is a 143.2 kilometres raced from Lourdes to Hautacam. With the introduction of the much-feared Col de Spandelles between the legendary Col d’Aubisque and the always-decisive finishing climb to Hautacam, it’s a climb combination never before seen in the Tour. This stage has been ranked with the highest degree of difficulty.
    All of these come after an initial and usual 60kms of virtually flat roads.



    Until Laruns it’s a long flat road, once again an hilly/uphill start is missing to give the pure climbers a chance to enter the break with raw power. Then it will be time for the Aubisque, a really hard ascent with 17,1 km at 7%, but the last 10 km rise up with an average gradient of 8,3%.
    When the Spandelles was used at the lesser-known Route du Sud 10 years ago, Colombian climber Nairo Quintana broke clear on the Spandelles and soloed to victory.
    Extremely narrow, with rough pavement, 20 turns and frequent double-digit pitches, the 10.3-kilometer Spandelles was thought to be impassable for Le Tour, but the regional highways department has done work on it to make the descent safer.
    Then it will be time for Hautacam, 13,2 km at 8%. The second half is the hardest part with kilometres 8, 9 and 11 standing out – respectively with gradients at 10.3%, 11.3%, and 10.4%.



    The Climbs:
    Aubisque pass (1,709 m)
    The Aubisque is one of the classic passes of the Tour de France, which has been climbed by the peloton on 73 occasions in the past. Two stages ended at the summit, in 1985 and 2010. It is 16.6km long with a percentage of 7.5 pc and peaks at 13 pc after Eaux-Bonnes. On the Tour’s last visit, in 2018, it was Rafal Majka who was at the front.



    Spandelles pass (1,378 m)
    The Spandelles pass is a first-time feature of the Tour de France, but it is not unknown to the riders. In 2012, on the Route du Sud, Nairo Quintana led the way to the summit and the pass caused a lot of damage. Thomas Voeckler in particular was forced to put his foot down halfway up the climb.



    Final Kms.

    The ascent to ski resort Hautacam is a scenic one-way climb. The length is 13.6 kilometres and the average gradient sits at 7.8%.
    It’s the sixth time the Hautacam ascent is included in the Tour de France. Luc Leblanc won in 1994, Bjarne Riis in 1996 , Javier Otxoa in 2000, Juan José Cobo in 2008, and in 2014 Vincenzo Nibali took the win. With the exception of Otxoa and Nibali all these riders were affiliated with doping at some point in their career.




    What to Expect.
    It's getting very repetitive, but yet another endless (and mostly fruitless) battle to get into the breakaway, but the deadwood will be cut almost immediately, by the ascent of the Aubisque, meaning that the lead group will feature solely strong climbers. Which in turn makes it more likely that the winner will come from the breakaway.
    It's also likely for the last mountain stage to be a huge battle among podium contenders. If the time bonuses at the line could change the final GC order, we would likely see a clash on the finish climb, with the winner coming from the select GC group.
    Take your pick.
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  • t-72

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    [size=18pt]Stage 18: Lourdes - Hautacam, 143.2Km [/size]:*:*:*:*:*
    …..
    (A mellow preview , not expecting fireworks ?)
    ….

    Looking at how the race has developed I think tomorrow´s stage can turn out slightly more exiting and that there may be some surprises. The basic observation is that a number of high ranked riders and squads really seemed to be at or very close to the edge of their powers today, while the stage profile is clearly more challenging than today´s - longer and with longer and steeper climbs.

    We might end up with something very close to what we saw today, from the GC favorites perspective: a long orderly procession with little change in the end. It is just that it obscures the fact that no-one really thought it would be the severely depleted #uae UAE team that would be the locomotives. The stronger teams, #jumbo and #ineos all fades further back in the hills when #uae Mikkel Bjerg and Brandon McNulty came to the front on the last mountain passes today. Even GC podium candidates dropped like flies.

    Tomorrow we might get the boss fight of the year with no domestique support for any of them up the Hautacam. Maybe even as early as Spandelles.

    Further down the list there could also be some turnovers, but what happens when everyone are so tired as they appear to be now, is hard to predict. Better watch and see what happens.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I hadn't realized just how savage the course is for Thursday. Should Vingegaard falter, no doubt that Pogačar would pull out all the stops. This Tour is not over yet.

    Interesting statistic here:
    https://twitter.com/CafeRoubaix/status/1549768428059246593
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I did watch the race coverage right to the end on this Wednesday. It was quite dramatic to see Fabio Jakobsen cross the finish, with only seconds to spare, to the applause, encouragement and support of several of his teammates. It seemed to require every last bit of energy within him. Should he go on to win another sprint stage, it will make for quite the narrative.

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  • Drummer Boy

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    I have to admit, I'm not totally confident in Vingegaard's chances today. It only takes a few minutes of mishaps, and we know how these things sometimes compound themselves. A mechanical, a bonk, a crash...anything could happen, then panic sets in, and who knows?

    I'm most curious to see how the respective teammates respond today. This should be an epic stage, and I'll be very surprised if it doesn't deliver some memorable excitement. 
    :cool
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  • Jimmythecuckoo

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    Pogacar will still win. I see it in the future.
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  • The fens are just West West Flanders really...

    Mellow Velo

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    Stage 19: Castelnau-Magnoac - Cahors, 188.3Km

    Start Time: 13-05CET

    The sprinter's pay day for getting through the mountains, as the route goes north, away from the Pyrenees that dominated the previous days.
    Nevertheless, 188 km at this point of the race could prove to be an high challenge, for them and their teams, so a breakaway has a chance. In addition, the finale is not pancake-flat.
    The Tour’s sojourn in the Lot offers a nod back to the race’s opening days: the castle of Cayx, located close to Cahors, belongs to the Danish royal family.



    The riders kick off in Castelnau-Magnoac, roughly 40 kilometres north of the Pyrenees. On flat to rolling roads the route heads northwards to cross the Garonne halfway. Then the parcours continues slighty more eastward in the direction of Cahors.
    The route features two modest climbs in the last 55 kilometres.
    The winner in Cahors succceeds another pure bred attacker. In 1994, Jacky Durand took the spoils in the only ever Tour de France finish in the medieval wine town.



    The Climbs.





    Final Kms.

    The final kilometres are rolling, rather than flat. The last km is slightly uphill, with 700 meters at a 3,1% average.





    What to Expect:

     Odds are that we'll see a fast finishers showdown in Cahors, as they haven't had a whole lot of opportunities and nothing to contest for quite a while.
    However, with so many teams still searching for an illusive stage win, (mostly thanks to Jumbo and Tadej Pogacar) I expect there to be quite a scuffle for the break, although it's unlikely to be too strong, when it forms.
    The sprinter teams will look to control, however, often the peloton miscalculates, through exhaustion, in the last week of a Grand Tour.



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  • Drummer Boy

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    Odds are that we'll see a fast finishers showdown in Cahors...

    So...you're saying another one for Wout?  :P
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  • t-72

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    So...you're saying another one for Wout?  :P

    He isn´t the fastest sprinter, but in an uphill sprint that doesn´t really count so much. Question is, who will be the more  likely to contest the «inevitable» #green stage win.
    I am thinking #bikeexchange Groenewegen, #total Sagan (alt. EBH), #trek Pedersen, #intermarche Kristoff, #alpecin Phillipsen

    (I have tried looking for sprinters that haven´t really been struggling in the mountains, which means #quickstep Jakobsen and #lotto Caleb are not on the top list).

     
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