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hiero

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Stage: 13 - 14 July : Saint-Girons - Foix, 100 km
« on: July 11, 2017, 03:37 »
Bastille Day.  la Fête nationale. So there will certainly be fireworks today! However, in spite of many predictions that this will be an exciting race day, I have my doubts. The stage is exceptionally short for a TdF stage, which should lead to plenty of attacking. There are three cat 1 ascents on the day. The roads, from start to finish, are narrow. But the approaches and the descents are fairly straightforward, and are not technically challenging. So it will be hard to gain time on a descent. Time gained will have to be on the climbs, and these mountains are not that challenging, I think, that we will see climbers like Quintana or Aru making headway that will stick to the end in Foix.

The day starts with a gradual climb to the first ascent: Col de Latrape. This col has the most challenging descent, into Aulus-les-Bains, but it is short, and still early. Then the riders will immediately hit the ascent for Col d'Agnes. One would normally find cattle grazing roadside here. Hopefully the local farmers will have them penned elsewhere for the day. The scenery will be spectacular. And this ascent might present opportunities for an attack. The descent here is long enough at 15 km, but there is not the technical aspect we saw in the Juras. The roads are mostly straightforward, with only a few hairpins, and those hairpins are not tight. However, before we are halfway down, we will pass a mountain pond, L'Etang de Lers, and the race route takes us up the D18 - which is an extremely narrow road. Nominally 2 lanes, it is narrow enough to be one regular sized lane in most areas. This could present difficulties, and opportunities.

In Massat the riders will begin the ascent to Mur de Peguere. Outside of Massat, the race route takes us on to the D618, which is a narrow two lane road, but at least "narrow" in normal standards. However, the respite is temporary, as we are soon on the D17 - and the first section of this is another extremely narrow two lane road. If you had two big SUVs trying to travel in opposite directions here, I think one would have to leave the road. The slopes are enough here we should see some GC attacks, but will they have enough room to amount to anything? The descent should be fast, and undemanding, and a break will need to be significant at the summit to maintain a lead all the way into town.

The biggest opportunity for this day, in my opinion, is an early ambush. The day is short enough it can be maintained once gained, and the previous stage is hard enough an ambush may be able to escape. One can not think, though, that Sky will be unaware of this after last year's Vuelta stage 15. Conclusion? Little or no change in GC is the most likely outcome. Although, it would not be a surprise to see a non-GC-threat escape get a stage win. Certainly the French riders will be thinking of stage glory today.







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  • Eeyore sez . . .

    hiero

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    Barguil takes it. A Frenchman wins on Bastille Day. How long has it been since we've seen that! :)

    Jens Voigt and Bob Roll et al have an interesting conversation about Landa. Essentially Jens says Landa is in no way a threat for yellow - would not be permitted by Sky.

    http://www.steephill.tv/players/720/nbcsports4/?title=Voigt:+Landa+is+paid+only+to+be+there+for+Froome&dashboard=tour-de-france&id=2C7AN5Hh2sD_&yr=2017
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    Carlo Algatrensig

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    This should possibly go in the Good, Bad, Ugly thread but Fuglsang should not have been allowed to start today and probably not yesterday. There comes a point where a riders fitness should be independently assessed and not left to the teams. He looked like he couldn't hold the bars with any comfort for more than a few seconds and so became a risk to himself and others in the race.
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  • AG

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    he kept riding with no hands on the bars as it obviously hurt too much to sit in a normal position on the bike.

    and that would have been with significant pain killers .... so I totally agree.  There should come a point where the team doctors should be overruled.
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  • hiero

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    he kept riding with no hands on the bars as it obviously hurt too much to sit in a normal position on the bike.

    and that would have been with significant pain killers .... so I totally agree.  There should come a point where the team doctors should be overruled.

    I am not so sure about the "significant pain killers", as, due to doping rules, the pain killers allowed were probably NOT sufficient by our non-racer standards. E.G. "Take two aspirin . . ."

    Its not like American football, where they chew pain-killers like candy. That would get you in trouble with the vampires here, yes?
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    Road descriptions written by Americans are funny:

    ... the race route takes us up the D18 - which is an extremely narrow road. Nominally 2 lanes, it is narrow enough to be one regular sized lane in most areas. ...as we are soon on the D17 - and the first section of this is another extremely narrow two lane road. If you had two big SUVs trying to travel in opposite directions here, I think one would have to leave the road.

    On an average country lane, whenever you have 2 small hatchbacks "trying to travel in opposite directions", both would definitely have to partially leave the road. 
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  • LukasCPH

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    Road descriptions written by Americans are funny:
    The road up the Mur de Péguère was very narrow though.
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    hiero

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    Road descriptions written by Americans are funny:

    On an average country lane, whenever you have 2 small hatchbacks "trying to travel in opposite directions", both would definitely have to partially leave the road.

    I am so thrilled to know you have found my writing humorous.

    On seeing the race footage, I have to think at least one section of "road" was not road at all, but rather some sort of bicycle or foot trail. The pavement, which had a dotted line down the center, was no more than 8-10 feet wide, altogether (~3 m).

    ;)
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  • LukasCPH

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    On seeing the race footage, I have to think at least one section of "road" was not road at all, but rather some sort of bicycle or foot trail. The pavement, which had a dotted line down the center, was no more than 8-10 feet wide, altogether (~3 m).
    Wide enough for a car, right? So it's a road. :P
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