Tour de France 2021 – Stage 16 Preview – .

Tour de France 2021 – Stage 16 Preview – .

Stage 16 – Pas de la Case to Saint Gaudens – 169km – Tuesday, July 13

The third and final week of the Tour de France begins with another stage through the Pyrenees, with four classified climbs. But at the end of the second day of rest of the race and before two much more difficult days in the high mountains, we can say that the contenders for the general classification of the Tour will be happy to take matters into their own hands and let another great breakaway go. to fight for stage victory.

The stage begins in Andorra with nearly 20 km of neutralized roads in the Port d’Envalira, which the riders climbed towards the end of stage 15. The descent continues for another 35 km, which will make it difficult for a breakaway to escape early.

Stage by stage review of the Tour de France

But the first of the climbs comes soon enough: the Col de Port category 1 (11.4 km at 5.1%). Attacks should be intense and quick here, with riders hoping to win the stage or score more points in the King of the Mountains Tour competition by going up the road. The break could be quite significant, with some teams putting multiple runners in motion to maximize their chances. And it will be a rainy day, with showers expected throughout the afternoon. It also benefits the breakaway, as the overall Tour contenders won’t want to take risks so late in the race.

Today’s intermediate sprint comes after the first climb in Vic d’Oust, so don’t be surprised to see Australian Michael Matthews (Team Bike Exchange) on the break trying to earn as many points as possible. Matthews is 72 points behind Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) in the Tour’s green jersey battle, but if Cav fails to cut the time on the next two mountain stages Matthews could end up in the lead of the competition. So the more distance Matthews can put between him and the riders behind him (Belgian Jasper Philipsen and Italian Sonny Colbrelli) the better.

After the sprint comes the Col de la Core Category 1 (13.1km at 6.6%) followed by the Col de Portet-Aspet Category 2 (5.4km at 7.1%), two climbs that should win the breakaway at its only strongest runners. A long descent off Portet-Aspet could give a few riders a chance to come back in front, which could set up an exciting final on the smallest but most strategic of the climbs of the day: category 4 Côte d ‘Aspret -Sarrat (800m at 8.4%).

Although far from the most difficult climb of the day, the hill is only 7 km from the finish line in Saint Gaudens, making it the perfect ramp for one of the punchers of the pause to try to escape. The descent is not long and a few kilometers of flat roads before the finish should give rise to an exciting duel between the breakaways and the riders who are chasing them. The last 500 meters are uphill, offering a last chance for a runner with a little bit in his legs to accelerate one more step for the stage victory.

Riders to watch out for

With two days in the high mountains, two stages set to end with field sprints and an individual time trial, this could be the last chance for riders and teams looking to avoid coming home empty-handed.

One of those teams is Astana, a team that made waves just before the race for the sacking of its general manager, Alexander Vinokourov. “Vino” was no angel, but his dismissal appears to have left the team in search of an identity in this year’s Tour. They have several riders who could do well on a course like this, with Spaniards Alex Aranburu and Omar Fraile and Danish Jakob Fuglsang the team’s best bets to win the stage.

It was a terrible year for French riders and teams as well, with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) securing the home nation’s only victory in this year’s Tour. The world champion will probably try again on the 16th stage. His compatriots Pierre Latour (Team TotalEnergies), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels p / b KTM) and Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën Team) should join him in the lead on Tuesday.

It was also a quiet Tour for Thomas de Gendt of Lotto-Soudal, a specialist in the long distance breakaway who could have highlighted this stage at the start of the Tour. De Gendt made the breakaway of Stage 15, but did not make the final selection. This step could be better suited to his strengths. We could also see his compatriots Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën Team) go on the attack. This stage has a finish much like a one-day classic, and van Aert and Van Avermaet are two of the best classic riders in the sport.

On the other hand, Bahrain-Victorious were one of the most aggressive teams on the Tour, and we expect the team to put Slovenian Matej Mohorič and Belgian Dylan Teuns in position to win the stage and Wout Poels in a position to defend the polka. dot jersey by scoring points on the three categorized climbs in the middle of the stage.

When to watch

With two dramatic mountain stages scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, you may want to use this stage as a chance to work while watching a replay or highlights later in the day. If you are be able to watch it live, tune in around 11:15 a.m. EST to see the final climb and the 7 km break-in to the finish line in Saint Gaudens.

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