Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stage 20 Preview and Profile 2013 Tour De France

125k from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz

Stage 20 around Annecy
The final showdown for the contenders in the General Classification has arrived. Stage 20 is the last mountain stage of the Tour De France. It is the last opportunity for the climbers to impose their will on the road, and the last opportunity for any reshuffling on the overall leaderboard.

The final stage into Paris on Sunday will be a flat one for the sprinters, and unless something awful happens, a stress-free celebration of a dominant Tour win for Team Sky’s Chris Froome. Before that, they have the six categorized climbs of stage 20.

A few smaller climbs in the first 50k will offer opportunities for breakaways and mountain jersey points for the contenders in the polka dot jersey competition. The stage is very short, at 125 kilometers, so it will probably be very fast, and very aggressive. A lot of teams will be hoping for results in Annecy.

Stage 20 profile

The Annecy-Semnoz mountaintop finish is a newcomer to the Tour. It is an HC rated climb measuring 10.7k and averaging 8.5%. The GC contenders will most likely have resigned themselves to Froome winning, but the fight for the next few places is still hot.

Profile of the final climb on stage 20
The battle for the mountains jersey should also be hotly contested Saturday, with five riders within eleven points of each other at the top of the standings in that competition. Two mountain points are available over two category-4 climbs on the final stage Sunday, so if the king of the mountains is too close to call by the end of stage 20, It is possible it could not be decided until Sunday.

Pick your favorite climber. Stage 20 could see another break succeed, or it could come down to the GC favorites. I would expect Joaquim Rodriguez is still very hungry for a stage win, so if it comes down to the favorites, he is my pick. He has been getting stronger, and is perfectly tailored for the steep finish. He is also very keen to finish on the podium in Paris, and may throw caution to the wind to get there. Purito is currently fifth overall, but just :47 behind second place Alberto Contador.

The weather forecast for Annecy on Sunday:
Clear with a chance of a thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon. High of 82F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

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