By @EchelonsHub

A chaotic day in the Tour de France peloton. Jonas Vingegaard was present on some early moves as the soaring heat and rolling hills of southern France provided an opportunity to surprise. Jumbo-Visma however had a difficult day loosing Primoz Roglic before the start, and Steven Kruijswijk during the day due to a crash. Jonas Vingegaard crashed too, and Wout van Aert went on to finish in second as the peloton managed to control the day’s attacks to perfection closing Benjamin Thomas in the final kilometer, and having Jasper Philipsen taking the win in the bunch sprint. Mads Pedersen rode into third place. 

Foto: ASO

Positive: Philipsen finally taking his first Tour de France win. 

Negative: Jumbo loosing two riders and seeing several more crash. Jakobsen and Ewan couldn’t survive the climbing and didn’t contest yet another sprint. 

The Route

Stage 16 sees the race enter the Pyrenees. It will be the final mountain range tackled in this year’s edition, and will see three consecutive days where the overall classification can be changed. The first of which will see the riders go from Carcassonne to Foix. The start of the stage will have a couple of hilltops where a strong breakaway can go up the road, and most of the day is then somewhat flat until the final combination of climbs.

With 53.5 kilometers to go the riders will go over the summit of the Port de Lers, the first ascent. It is 11.5 kilometers at 6.7% average gradient, a constant climb which will prepare the riders into the final challenge.

A somewhat technical descent will have the riders at the base of the Mur de Péguère. Introduced in 2012, it has since became one of the favourite climbs for the Tour de France organizers, who once again take the finale into Foix. Before that though, the riders will climb 9.4 kilometers at 7.4%, an ascent split into two halves though, as the second half sees 3.6Km at 11.4%. Hard gradients which will be the focus of the climbers on the day, with it’s summit coming with 27 kilometers to go. What will follow is a fast descent, turned into a false-flat that will be ridden all the way into the finale.

The Weather

The heat will be hitting once again. Not as sharp, however up the climbs it will sting, with temperatures up to 30 degrees air temperature. There will be a small breeze from the north but it shouldn’t influence the race. 

Breakaway chances: 80%

Despite the easy start to the stage a strong breakaway is sure to go up the road. No-one will be chasing on the day as Jumbo have to save up, UAE don’t have the riders to control and no other team should have motivation to pull the peloton for hours until the first real climbs of the day. Having that, the downhill finish, the post-rest day and the two hard days of mountains ahead, it’s safe to say that the riders in the front group will succeed as the peloton will be marked by conservative riding – until the final climb, likely. 

The Favourites

BORA – They have the numbers and all freedom they could hope for. So far the team has not actually managed to take the much-worked for win, but Lennard Kämna will be – as most mountainous days – a big contender. The main power of the team comes from it’s depth, with Felix Grossschartner, Patrick Konrad and Max Schachmann all options. 

Groupama – The team have been very fond of supporting David Gaudu, who is having a strong race until now. Thibaut Pinot has been chasing that win, however to no success so far. Valentin Madouas and Michael Storer are also in great form and are good options for a win in case they are given the freedom to go for it. 

GC Fight – Tadej Pogacar will inevitably test Jonas Vingegaard once again. It’s also a steep climb where Jumbo can’t take advantage of their depth, however having riders in the breakaway should be a priority for both teams taking into account the rolling finale. It isn’t a stage that provides any ground for surprises, however the GC will be played out for sure – having into consideration the coming two days however. 

The win should be in front but this time room for surprises is very little, it will be a day for the climbers – and some puncheurs who carry serious form. Fatigue is also starting to kick in a lot, but some riders are also finding their legs such as Daniel Martínez, Alberto Bettiol, Rigoberto Urán, Dylan Teuns and Bauke Mollema – who seem to be strong options the way the race is unfolding. 

The fight could also include, if they are in front, the likes of Tom Pidcock, Carlos Verona, Matteo Jorgenson, Damiano Caruso, Alexey Lutsenko, Bob Jungels, Jakob Fuglsang and Michael Woods

Inside The Bus

This morning I talk to…

#64 Matteo Jorgenson  – Let’s try to get in front, you and Carlos have the opportunity to fight for a stage win if you’re there. If so be attempt to attacks on the first climb, however take into consideration that it is crucial to go over the final climb with as much power as possible as serious gaps can be done. After the climb push maximum, either alone or in a group, as there will be no other opportunity to create a gap. 

#134 Fabio Felline – We are not having a good race Fabio, let’s try to turn it around. Alexey has not had freedom to join breakaways, but we must try once again, specially on a day like this where he can actually win time. Your job will be to try and guide him into the front, and work hard until the two ascents of the day to try and increase the gap as much as possible. 

#218 Sebastian Schönberger – We’ll all have your back alongside Pierre, to try and get as many of us in front as possible. You’ve been doing good in the climbs, so we expect you to be competitive, perhaps on a good day to be in the fight for the win. 

Prediction Time

⭐⭐⭐Pinot, Uran, Jungels

⭐⭐Storer, Kämna, Martinez, Bettiol, Verona, Fuglsang

⭐Pogacar, Vingegaard, Konrad, Schachmann, Madouas, Teuns, Mollema, Pidcock, Woods

A risky call, but I will say a second win for Bob Jungels. He looks back at his very best form, is racing a very consistent and strong Tour and onstage 16 he should have the terrain and freedom to go up the road, and benefit from his great rise in climbing prowess. 

(Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

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Rúben Silva

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