2022 Tour de France – Stage 11 Preview
A chaotic day. With UAE Team Emirates loosing Bennett and having Majka infected with Covid-19, Tadej Pogacar’s protection was lowered even further. However neither Jumbo or INEOS put the leader under pressure on a day that would be impossible to control, and the victory went to the breakaway. Alberto Bettiol and Luis Leon Sanchez both had ambitious moves, but it was a group sprint atop the final climb which decided the stage. Magnus Cort Nielsen won the final sprint, beating Nick Schultz. Luis Leon Sanchez finished third, as Pogacar kept yellow very narrowly against Lennard Kamna.
The day was marked by a protest which had the peloton stopped on it’s tracks before the final climb, an incident which neutralized the race for around 10 minutes but didn’t harm the race further.
Positive: Cort Nielsen taking a very big win, further adding to his success at the race.
Negative: Schultz missing out on a very important win very narrowly after showing very good legs. Also Lennard Kamna just barely missing out on the yellow jersey.
Stage 11 will see the riders head into the high Alpine ascents. The Alps come before the Pyrenees this year, and the short 151-kilometer day into the Col du Granon can see serious differences and rearrange the overall classification. The start in Albertville is flat, with an intermediate sprint close by, and the Lacets de Montvernier will be the first climb of the day around 50 kilometers in. However it will be a mere warm-up for what’s to come.
The riders will head up the Souvenir Henri Desgrange. Although going up it again the following day, on stage 11 the Col du Galibier will be climbed via the Col du Telegraphe. The Telegraphe is 11.9Km long at 7% average gradient, and the proper ascent to the Galibier will be 17.6Km long at 6.8%. This enough is already a brutal combination, but it gets worst: The toughest ramps come near the top along it’s many hairpins, and it will take the riders into 2630 meters of altitude. This can be a true challenge to many, and although most will surely wait until the final climb, weaknesses can be exposed and seized – it also is summited with 45 kilometers to go.
What will follow is a very fast descent into Briançon, technical at first, but very simple and easy to chase on in it’s majority. Right before reaching the town, the riders turn left into a surprising addition. The Col du Granon will be the finale of this day, with 11.9 kilometers averaging 8.6%. A very steady climb with harsh gradients and a summit at 2404 meters of altitude. It’s a decisive stage, despite it’s early order in the race.
The heat won’t be too big but will exist. The wind will come from the northwest, signalling a possible tailwind in the Galibier.
Breakaway chances: 20%
Not many. The pan-flat start is going to make it very difficult for any high-quality group to get away. After that, with the ascents of the Galibier and the Granon it will be very hard for any rider to survive the inevitable GC battle that will be taking place through the final half of the stage.
Tadej Pogacar – So far so good. UAE will have few riders to support it’s leader, however in such brutal climbs it is relatively easy for the Slovenian to cover the moves. Pogacar just needs to follow wheels, although he is certain to be attacked by Jumbo-Visma.
Jonas Vingegaard & Primoz Roglic – Jonas Vingegaard doesn’t have the need to do anything risky, but will be a very dangerous rider in the final climb. If the team want to play with their numbers, there is the necessity to attack with Primoz Roglic at the latest in the Galibier. Jumbo don’t want a stage win, they want the GC win. They’ve chosen to have a direct head-to-head with Pogacar so they must now play their cards.
INEOS – Geraint Thomas sits third, Adam Yates sits fourth and Tom Pidcock sits seventh. All must be happy with their places, so I doubt they will go on the attack. For the time being they’ll want to keep the race as it is, although they should have cards to try and surprise if on a good day.
Breakaway cards – Only if the breakaway goes on Montvernier will it be a very strong group. There will be some good cards though, strong climbers who will have freedom to go for a stage win. Thibaut Pinot, Jakob Fuglsang and Michael Woods, Mattia Cattaneo and Carlos Verona seem to be the most adequate and fit riders for the task – although freedom can be given to others aswell.
Furthermore the GC will be played out between some more riders. Enric Mas and Nairo Quintana will be coming to their favoured territory. Romain Bardet, David Gaudu, Aleksandr Vlasov and Damiano Caruso will be eyeing a climb in the GC and possible fight for the podium. Tom Pidcock and Neilson Powless will likely be trying to keep their GC alive in what should be a gruesome day.
Inside The Bus
This morning I talk to…
#91 David Gaudu – This is a crucial day for you David. We are counting on you to be able to deal with the high mountains, even though I know they’re not the best suited for you. No need to attack, the race will be made between the teams ahead of you. As for you just follow the wheels and ride the final climb as fast as possible.
#47 Max Schachmann – There will be better days. Stay in the peloton, supporting Aleksandr for as long as you can, but when it gets too hard just let it go and make sure you save the legs for the coming weeks.
#22 Daniel Martínez – Stay safe throughout the start of the stage. Ideally, the breakaway only goes in the first climb of the day and you can get in there – possibly to support the guys after the Galibier. If not, then stay conservative, and with Geraint and Adam for as long as possible, we want to keep our ambitions.
⭐⭐ Roglic, Quintana, Pinot, Fuglsang
⭐ G.Thomas, A.Yates, Bardet, Mas, Verona, Woods
A win for Jonas Vingegaard on the summit of the Col du Granon, after dropping Tadej Pogacar in the final kilometers. An ambitious call, however I believe the Dane is at the level to be able to do this.
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