Stage 13 – Châtel-Guyon to le Puy Mary (Pas de Peyrol) – 191.5km – Friday, September 11
The Tour returns to the Massif Central in France for this mid-mountain stage with a brand new arrival at the top (racing). The Pas de Peyrol has already been featured 10 times in the Tour, as recently as 2011, but never finished at the top of the climb.
The Category 1 climb comes at the end of a heavy day of climbing, with seven total climbs and 4,400 meters of ascent – more than any stage in the race this year except Stage 18 .
These climbs are not the long monsters that we will see during the third week of racing in the Alps. They are shorter and generally less steep. But the large number of them, sprinkled more or less from start to finish, suggests that we’re likely to see a bigger breakaway, a mix of riders looking for a stage win and riders with designs. on the best climber’s polka-dot jersey.
This competition has been a bit sleepy so far this Tour, with Benoit Cosnefroy of Ag2r la Mondiale in the lead with 36 points, five ahead of his teammate Nans Peters and winner of stage 12 Marc Hirschi (Sunweb). To put these numbers in context, there is a maximum of 36 points available on Friday’s stage alone.
Besides the KoM competition, there is the break itself to consider. How big is it and who’s in it will decide how difficult the peloton is. With the exception of surprise attackers who are a threat overall, expect Jumbo-Visma to do most of the time necessary to maintain reasonable control of the spread with the escapees.
The trickiest part is the finish, which has two consecutive climbs in the last 15 kilometers. The first is the Category 2 Col de Neronne, which is not long (3.8 km) but averages 9.1%. If the breakaway is still clear but their gap is narrowing, it is an ideal launching pad for one or two riders who want to win a stage.
La Néronne is followed by 6 km of flat and slightly downhill terrain until the start of Pas de Peyrol. The first 3 miles of this ascent is nothing special, but the last 2.5 miles soar, averaging almost 12%, with a short section at 15%.
This is where we would expect to see attacks among the yellow jersey group, especially if there is a shot in a stage win. After 12 stages, the standings are tight, with seven riders 1:02 behind Primoz Roglič.
Runners to watch
The profile strongly suggests an early escape and this could be important. There are three groups of likely protagonists: Scene Hunters, Aspiring KoM, and Peter Sagan (BORA-Hansgrohe).
Sagan tried but failed today to enter the break, and his team’s plan to earn points in the green jersey competition did not quite come to fruition. If Sagan wants a shot on the green in Paris, Friday is decisive; he has to go on the attack to get the intermediate sprint points after the first few climbs, where rival Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) probably can’t keep up. If so, he will find company in KoM candidates like Cosnefroy, Quentin Pacher from B&B Hotels, and perhaps Toms Skujinš from Hirschi and Trek-Segafredo (I hope recovered from a brutal accident on stage 10). Finally, the stage hunters: there are a lot of candidates, but Groupama-FDJ will probably be active, and also CCC with riders like Alessandro de Marchi. In the group of contenders, watch for the late moves on the Pas de Peyrol of Tadej Pogačar of the United Arab Emirates, the most aggressive so far of this group, and perhaps of Mikel Landa of Bahrain-McLaren and Romain Bardet of ‘Ag2r.
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When to watch
Unless you are riveted by the fight for the green jersey or the KoM ranking, the most interesting part of this stage will probably only take place late, with the Col de Neronne. If you fall into cover around 10 a.m. EDT, you should be able to catch the final two climbs and the battle for the stage as well as all of the major GC group attacks.
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