Tour de France Stage 20 Preview
The Tour de France heads to Rocamadour from Lacapelle-Marival with the 25.3-mile time trial. It presents one last chance to change the overall “General Classification.”
The first 22 miles are flat and fast, but the race's final few miles have two climbs.
Stage 19: A Day For Sprinters
Stage 19 was flat as the general classification riders mainly received a reprieve. It was a day for the sprinters — well, sort of. Christophe Laporte got to the line first ahead of the field and held off Jasper Philipsen and Alberto Dianese. The Jumbo Visma rider just had a little more left in the tank to complete the slightly less than a four-hour stage.
It was nice to see Tadej Pogacar try to sprint a bit for the win. He finished fifth on the stage, but Jonas Vingegaard held the same time. Vingegaard’s lead stayed at 3:26 over the Slovenian with just the time trial.
All this stage did was set up what was to come. There is the glorious final stage but first is Stage 20.
Stage 20: The Time Trial
As the riders start at Lacapelle-Marival, what will occur next? The longer-time trial often separates the good prologue riders from the true-time trialists. After stages 18 and 19, the general classification standings look like this:
General Classification After Stage 19
The 20th stage of the Tour de France features a double shot at the end of the time trial. First, though, lies the very long and mostly flat section where riders can easily reach 35-40 miles per hour with ease at times. Speed will be essential, but too much speed may create a problem at the very end.
Who has what is left in the tank during the final three miles? That is the big question. The Cote des Magnes is a little climb at just 4.7% over one mile. However, there are some slightly higher inclines in that ascent.
After a tiny descent, the Cote de l’Hospitalet is next. That climb is 0.93 miles long but has an overall incline of 7.8%. This is far more of a brute. For riders, ascending the Hospitalet will feel like a gut punch with a haymaker to the jaw.
Can a rider like Wout Van Aert pull off this win? That answer is yes. Considering how well he has ridden through this entire tour, anything is possible for the Belgian. He finished just five seconds back in second place during the prologue. The climbs would not phase him like a Yves Lampaert or Filippo Ganna.
Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard could battle again. Vingegaard has the advantage of going last and knowing what Pogacar’s time will be. The Dane is our favorite to win his third tour stage and punctuate his yellow jersey. It could be a Vingegaard-Pogacar-Van Aert 1-2-3 for Saturday. Those are our picks for Sports Bettors.
The American Perspective
From the American perspective, Neilson Powless stands 13th at 45:22 back. The EF-Education rider lost one place and a lot of minutes after Stage 18. Brandon McNulty remains third in the White Jersey (best youngest rider) standings but more than 82 minutes behind Pogacar.
Going into Saturday, here is the place for the Americans in the general classification.
The Americans have been quite strong in this tour, as Stages 17 and 18 showed. There is a bright future. For Stage 20, Powles should place well in the time trial but do not discount a rider like McNulty. Hopefully, Stage 19 provided him with some much-needed rest.
McNulty was 32nd in the prologue but could improve during the time trial. He would be our best bet among the Americans — even over Powles (44th in Prologue).
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