Friday, July 12, 2013

Stage 14 Preview and Profile 2013 Tour De France

Stage 14 on the map
Stage 14 takes the race further southeast, from Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule to Lyon, in the Rhône-Alpes. On the way are seven categorized climbs, none of which is above a cat-3. It will be a kind of warm-up for the riders’ legs as they get ready to move south on Sunday for the finish on top of the bald pate of Mont Ventoux.

Many riders are going to look to get into a breakaway tomorrow. All that rolling up and down, even though no climb by itself is anything particularly challenging, will tire out the pure sprinters’ legs. It is difficult to say who will chase, and how hard.

The finish city of Lyon

I see the cat-3 climb of the Col du Pilon at km 126 as a good place for a long distance attack. The three cat-4’s in the final 30k do not look like exceptional break points to me.

It is very possible that some sprinters will make it to a bunch sprint, but there will be some very motivated riders trying hard on Saturday, on one of those medium-ish stages that don’t favor the big climbers or the flat sprinters.

Stage 14 profile

Peter Sagan is one who should like the look of this stage. It’s got the type of profile that suggests a strong rider with a fast finish will probably leave flat sprinters behind.

Classics specialists will also have this stage on their radar. Besides Sagan, Sylvain Chavanel, Juan Antonio Flecha, Simon Gerrans, Michael Albasini, Lars Bak, John Degenkolb, and Jan Bakelants are some of the names that come to mind for stage 14.

Maybe Movistar will try something in an effort to make up for their horrible display on Friday. Their team is full of riders who could normally excel on a stage like this. But with Mont Ventoux looming the next day, most of the GC contenders would probably prefer to save their energy for Sunday’s climb.

More good weather is expected on Saturday, around 80 f and sunny.

MY PICK: Peter Sagan

UNDERDOG PICK: Not really an underdog, but it would be interesting to see Michal Kwiatkowski try to gain some time on his rivals.

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