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M Gee

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Stage 17: Bagneres-de-Luchon - Col du Portet
« on: June 16, 2018, 17:00 »
Stage 17. The 25th day of July. It is now the middle of week 3 at the Tour. The peloton has been through the cobbles, to the Alps, and now they are being munched by the Pyrenees. Stage 16 saw three massive climbs - but not a mountaintop finish!   All three were packed into the end: the last 60 km of a 200 km day. The final climb, the Col de Portillon, is followed by a fast descent into Bagneres-de-Luchon. Stage 16 might have been designed with Nibali in mind.

But today? Today we have a mere 65 km of racing. Over another 3 high mountain passes of the Pyrenees.

Cycling Weekly has picked this day as one of 6 stages that could change the face of this year's TdF. cyclingweekly six-stages-decide-2018-tour-de-france.
Given the short distance today, one of the big questions has been whether someone will push from the start. It's been much discussed because of the innovative start technique, as well. Controversial! Cycling News has some comments from the teams on that! Cycling News: Game Changer or Gimmick?

 There are some road bottlenecks, but the first one I see is not until the foot of the second climb (Col de Val Louzon-Azet). If the scramble for position doesn't come until the foot of the Col de Val Louron-Azet, after between 27 and 30 km of riding, the start positions are not likely to have any impact. On the descent following that climb are some snarky narrow roads in the town at the foot of the second climb. They will likely not be selective, coming, as they do, following a fast descent.
This deep in the race, we can expect that we will have a #yellow, and that person is likely to finish in Paris in #yellow. However, if the contenders have managed to stay close enough, we could see some big attacks on the Peyresourde in attempt to whittle down the selection. It depends on the legs. If Sky is still strong, and Froome is in the lead, we can bet strongly against any attacks on the Peyresourde, unless Froome shows weakness, and somebody wants to fly solo this day. However, I think it is highly unlikely that Sky will allow themselves to get caught out, as they did in the ambush at Formigal. The Col Collective has been nice enough to provide us a vid run-through of the stage:
The outcome I think most likely will be a "one-blow monoclimb" on the Col du Portet. Our #yellow will cement his position here. But perhaps, with some luck, everything will not have been so predictable somewhere along the way. I think the bookies will be giving it long odds, but it could all come down to the TT on stage 20! Jusque-là, mes amis.
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  • « Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 09:28 by L'arri »
    . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    M Gee

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    More detail. In the last 6 km or so we have French strade bianche. Even a little tunnel with these gravel/dirt roads! I can guarantee there will be tifosi on every hillside, jampacked, if the gendarmes let them.

    What with the shortness of this stage, if we do see any weakness, it can be exploited, should another have the legs. This stage does have the potential to turn things upside down. Not likely, but the potential exists.

    The climbs:
    The Peyragudes


    Col de Val Louron-Azet


    Cod de Portet
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  • M Gee

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    Oh, MAN! WHAT a cryin' shame! They're gonna tarmac the final 8 km to the Col de Portet! Freakin' shame.

    https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2018/05/04/2791611-col-portet-va-faire-beaute-tour.html
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