Tour de France Stage 7 Preview: The Longest Day Ahead
After two hard days in the Vosges, riders will face the longest stage of the 2019 Tour. Beginning in Belfort, the day starts out lumpy, with three categorised climbs in the first 110K giving a breakaway a chance to stretch its legs. But it’s an essentially 120K downhill ride from the top of the final climb to the finish in Chalon-sur-Saône, so the sprinters’ teams should have more than enough road to reel back any escapees.
The finish itself begins with a large, sweeping loop through town with tight, near-180 degree corners at 2.6K and 1.6K from the line. With a full peloton likely to hit the finish, these spots could be dicey. Positioning will be key: Teams will want to hit the front before these corners, meaning they won’t have to brake (as much), giving their lead-outs an edge over those teams forced to halt their progress in the bottleneck. Once through the last corner, it’s a straight shot to the line along the Saône river.
Riders to Watch
This could be the last chance for the field sprinters to win a stage before the first rest day, so expect to see Deceuninck–Quick Step, Lotto-Soudal, and Jumbo–Visma doing everything they can for Elia Viviani (who won Stage 4 in Nancy), Caleb Ewan, and Dylan Groenewegen.
Giulio Ciccone, who took the overall lead on Stage 6, should have no trouble defending his yellow jersey. With a field sprint expected, Deceuninck–Quick Step will put all of its eggs in Viviani’s basket, meaning Julian Alaphilippe, who sits a mere six seconds behind Ciccone on the General Classification, will have to wait until the weekend to try to regain yellow.