By David Hunter
Mourenx > Libourne 207km
It looks like a sprint stage, but will it be?
207km is a long stage, especially at the end of a grand tour. Cavendish has been in dominant form in the race, will anyone help Deceuninck – Quick Step chase? It’s very unlikely, if this stage is to end in a sprint it’s down to the Wolf Pack. Cavendish is just one win away from breaking the record, but he’ll be tired after hauling himself over the mountains, and so will his teammates. Sunday’s stage will end in a sprint, that’s guaranteed, they don’t need to chase this one down.
This is good news for those who want the break to succeed. Also in their favour is the rolling nature of the opening 50km, perfect for those hoping to form a strong break. The bad news is the headwind, but it’s not strong. It could be a day where the first attempted break goes clear, or it could be another day where it takes an hour of fighting. With only one team keen on a sprint, it looks like a good day for the breakaway.
The cat 4 climb comes after 10km, it is 2km at 5%, so not hard. As you can see the road is constantly up and down in the opening stages, it’s not easy to control. You might not agree but I think this is a breakaway day, not the day Cavendish breaks the record. Michael Matthews would love to be in the break to get some sprint points, but DQT will mark him and ensure he doesn’t get up the road.
Hot and sunny. The wind is weak, but it will be a headwind for much of the day.
Mike Teunissen – he’s spent three weeks helping others, hopefully he gets a chance in this stage. He started the race with very little racing in his legs, and now seems to be getting stronger and stronger. He’s got a big engine and a fast finish, perfect for a stage like this.
Dylan Van Baarle – Ineos will be a little disappointed with the race, this stage is the last one they can realistically win. Van Baarle had a brilliant spring, but we’ve not seen much of him in this race. He’ll have freedom to chase the break, hopefully he makes the move.
Jasper Stuyven – could this be the day he gets his first Tour win? He’s been so close on many occasions, he’ll sense this could be his day.
Edward Theuns – he’s been nice and active in this race, this is another chance for him to land a big one. Trek-Segafredo have been regulars in the breaks, they’ll hopefully be in this one.
Lukas Pöstlberger – he’s started to show himself in the last week, and looked nice and strong in the process. He was brilliant at the Dauphiné, it would be incredible if he could also win a stage in the Tour de France.
Jonas Rutsch – big and strong, perfect for the break.
Casper Pedersen – another rider who ticks many boxes for this stage. He crashed at the start of the race, but has now recovered and has looked strong in recent stages.
Chris Juul-Jensen – he’s looked brilliant in the last week, this could be his day.
Brent Van Moer – caught so close to the line in Fougères, that seems a long time ago. It’s hard to predict how his legs will respond at the end of his first grand tour, but he is good at getting into breaks.
Tim Declercq – if DQT are happy to let the break go it would make sense to get someone in the move. Being big and strong always helps in this type of stage and they don’t come bigger or stronger than big Tim!
Mark Cavendish – if we get a sprint Cavendish will win.
A breakaway win for Chris Juul-Jensen.
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