The race hits the Pyrenees in a 218km brute of a stage. The riders will roll out from Carcassonne and 5 hours later will find themselves finishing in the well known town of Bagnères-de-Luchon. Plenty of rolling terrain and 3 major climbs in the final 70km will make it an interesting day for both the breakaway and the GC men.
Tomorrow will likely be similar to stage 15 there’s a good chance of the break making it the finish. We managed to hit our first big winner so far in the race with Magnus Cort (66/1) last time out but I feel tomorrow could be one of the most unpredictable stages of the entire race. It’s the day after a rest day so plenty will feel like they’ve got a good chance of making the break and we’ll likely see another rapid start to the stage as a result. With the experimental 68km stage the day after I think teams will be happy to allow a move a good gap and if it’s big enough there’s a good chance it goes to the finish. Having said the the final climb up the Col du Portillon is tough and will attract a move from a GC rider, particularly one who fancies themselves to hold a gap on the downhill run to the finish. If the break don’t hit this climb with 4 minutes + then I suspect they won’t survive.
I’m completely undecided on tomorrow but I think I’m leaning more towards it being a GC day for the simple reason that they’ve had 3 easy days now and time is running out to make a difference in the mountains. Sky will look to control but a number of other teams know they have to try something and this could make the second half of the stage equally as fast as the first.
If the race comes back together then I think Ag2r’s Romain Bardet is the best pick. He’s shown his strength in the mountains a number of times over the past couple of weeks and will be buzzing that both major descents are on tight, twisting roads that suit a lone escapee over the peloton. I think Froome will also have this mindset and won’t hold back even if it means attacking his teammate.
For a breakaway I think Adam Yates is the prime candidate. He looked both keen and strong on yesterdays stage in his attempts to form a break with Barguil and Muhlberger. At this point Orica have nothing to lose and there powerful team will stand of good chance of controlling things early on to ensure Yates gets up there. Of course there are plenty of other guys who will be looking for the break. For one Thomas De Gendt still hasn’t got his stage win despite numerous attempts. He missed the break yesterday so will be refreshed and raring to go. Of course the Izaguirre will also look to be up the road as will the aforemention pair of Barguil and Muhlberger. Of course this stage will also suit Julian Alaphilippe and he’s guarenteed to be up there to hoover up mountains points.
For me a break winner is very difficult to pick because of the downhill run in. I’ve therefore only gone with a small one on Gregor Mühlberger after the strength and awareness he showed at the start of Stage 15 and the value he presents at 125. I’ve also gone with a double. Froome to beat Dumoulin I think is likely due to Froome skills descending and the liklihood that we’re about the see Froome hitting top form. The other half of the double is Yates to beat Majka. They are both likely to be in the break and in that case I expect Yates to be the stronger of the two.
0.1pts on Gregor Mühlberger @ 126 (unibet)
2pts on Froome tb Dumoulin and Yates tb Majka @ 3.06 (unibet)
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