Tour de France: What to Expect in The Final Week
Monday is a rest day for the Tour de France and, unexpectedly, a welcome one for almost every cyclist. Temperatures reached just above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday and it caused plenty of issues. Yellow jersey leader Jonas Vingegaard was able to retain his lead but again had another mishap.
The question now is: What will all these little bumps and bruises mean over the final week
War of Attrition Sets Up For Chaos
The last thing Team Jumbo Visma needed was losing two riders. More importantly, losing Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk are two massive blows. The crash with Vingegaard could bring unknown effects. Tadej Pogacar appears 100% again.
Can Pogacar get back into the Tour after that Stage 11 where he hit the wall? Will Vingegaard be able to hold on to his lead?
Now, cyclists will ride into the Pyrenees on Tuesday. Stage 16 is just a shade under 111 miles but features two Category 1 climbs. It will be that second climb where riders in the “General Classification” might attack. The Mur has a 9% average incline, and a cyclist can get away. With strong descending skills, a stage winner is likely to come from an attack at that point.
Tour de France Key Point 1 - Stages 17 and 18
Stage 17 starts innocent enough, but the 80-mile course delivers a triple gut punch followed by a short, sweet haymaker. The three intermediate climbs precede a final ascent with a third of a mile kicker at a nasty 13%. The Peyragudes are relentless.
The one area where Vingegaard did have trouble was in those sudden kicks. That was where Pogacar managed to win Stage 7. Again, the question marks about with teammates left and who has what form. It appears Pogacar has an advantage coming out of the rest day. The key word is appears.
Stage 18 is an 89-mile trek ending at The Hautacam. Before that, there lies the beyond category Col d’Aubisque (10 miles) and a Category 1 ascent. Now, the Hautacam is likely the attack point for general classification purposes. There are three sections where the pitch increases above 10%.
There will be a reckoning on this final climb. Since Stage 19 is flat for all intents and purposes, it makes for a potential finale. Now, if the race tightens enough, the Stage 20 time trial might be the final decider.
Stage 20: The Race Of Truth
The individual time trial in Stage 20 is just 25.3 miles. However, it is the last 3.6 miles that will be the test. There are a couple of ascents, and the final one is just about a mile long. Again, this one kicks at 7.8%, with some higher inclines mixed.
The road to Rocamadour is a poetic way to “end” this edition of the Tour de France. It might be the final battle between Vingegaard and Pogacar. Unlike the shorter prologue, cyclists must pace themselves amongst the undulations, or they will cook into the red zone at the end.
The time trial would be where Slovenian (Pogacar) has the perceived edge. Can Pogacar make up 142 seconds in the final week? He lost more than three minutes after Stage 11. Anything is possible.
The Final Prognosis
Cycling is the most challenging gauge, but Pogacar has a plus-money value. Look around for stage numbers, though, because that might be where to pounce. Shop around because these will shift early in the morning before they cut off.
The betting money can still be on Pogacar while placing smaller wagers on Vingegaard to hold on. Good luck as Tuesday, we begin breaking down the stages.
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