Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stage 15 Preview 2013 Tour De France


I am sorry I don’t have time today to do a better preview for Mont Ventoux. But here are the basics:

Stage 15 on the map

The longest stage of the race will end on top of the barren landscape of the famed Mont Ventoux. Stage 15 is 242.5 kms long. The first 220k are mostly flat, but the stage ends with the 20k climb up Mont Ventoux, topping out at 1912 meters.

The intermediate sprint point comes at km 208, so the sprinters’ teams may want to keep it lively. The sprinters were shut out of the points on stage 14 because of the size of the escape group, and the fact that they lasted to the finish. But knowing that the stage battle will go to the climbers, the sprinters could also sit back and let the GC contenders’ teams do the work at the front of the peloton all day.
Stage 15 profile

Profile of Mont Ventoux

The climb up Mont Ventoux is 20.8k long with an average gradient of 7.5%. If a break gets away, the climbers will want to catch them on or before the climb. 

The climb has broken men--and even worse. Tom Simpson died after climbing Ventoux in 1967. In 1970 Eddie Merckx had to get oxygen to recover from exhaustion on Mont Ventoux.

By the top of the long climb, only the elite will be left to fight for the stage win. Some may plan to attack Chris Froome to chip away at his lead. Froome may want to rev his engine and go for the win to demoralize his competitors.
Lance Armstrong put the hurt on Jan Ullrich on Mont Ventoux in 2000 when he rode to that well-remembered finish with Marco Pantani.

Finally, Ventoux comes on Bastille Day. A few Frenchmen will definitely have designs on this stage. Pierre Rolland, for one, would love to add a Tour De France Bastille Day win on this renowned mountain to his palmares.

MY PICK: Nairo Quintana. The young Colombian climber is the last Movistar rider to remain in the top ten overall. He is also in a battle with Michal Kwiatkowski for the white jersey, and is a great climber. He does not have to wait to lead Valverde around anymore, so he is free to go for it.

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