What you should know about the Tour’s 19th stage, which takes riders from Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. – By Whit Yost
It’s not often that racers ride a trainer to warm-up for a road stage, but several might do so for Stage 19 of the 2016 Tour de France. Taking place in the vicinity of Mont Blanc, this short 146km stage begins at the base of an uncategorised 8.5km climb, which means any rider hoping to make it into the day’s long breakaway needs to be warmed-up and ready to cover attacks right from the gun. The riders will climb four categorised climbs over the course of the stage, including the 9.8km climb to the finish in Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc.
Why It Matters
With Chris Froome’s third Tour de France victory all but assured, attention now shifts to the riders fighting for the two places next to him on the podium in Paris. Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema and Orica-BikeExchange’s Adam Yates are currently sitting in second- and third-place overall, but both appear to be fading as the race nears its conclusion.
On the other hand, Romain Bardet, Richie Porte, and Fabio Aru have clearly timed their training so as to be at their best for the Tour’s third week. And it’s objectively paid off, as the trio seems to be getting stronger each day. If Mollema and Yates continue to fade—and these three continue to surge—we could see another GC reshuffling before the race hits Paris.
When to Tune In
This is a short, intense stage that comes on the heels of two hard days in the Alps, so expect a breakaway to be given a long leash by the already-tired peloton. The action will come on the day’s last climb, which the competition is expected to begin at about 4:45pm (SA time). Tune in then to see the riders tackle the final summit finish of the Tour.