Tour de France Stage 15 Preview
CÉRET–ANDORRA LA VELLA
Sunday, July 11
Pyrénées II: Into Andorra
These roads in the Eastern Pyrénées have hardly ever featured in the Tour de France. The riders will be going high, very high indeed; the third of the day’s four climbs, the Port d’Envalira, is the “roof” of the 2021 Tour at 2,408 meters (7,900 feet) above sea level. This ascent isn’t very steep, as it’s a major highway through the mountains. On the other hand, the final climb, the Col de Beixalis, could blow the race apart. The riders will suddenly find themselves on a very narrow and extremely steep road. The 13-kilometer descent is technical and tricky. The favorites will be on maximum alert for the final hour of racing. The last time a Tour stage finished in the Andorran capital was won by Spanish climber Julio Jiménez in 1964; perhaps this time the winner will be one of the many pros who live in this mountainous tax haven; perhaps Julian Alaphilippe—who regularly rides over the Beixalis and says this is a stage he has targeted. But with the world champion out of GC contention, the more interesting racing should be between riders in the top 10: Will Tadej Pogačar be challenged by Richard Carapaz, Rigoberto Urán or Jonas Vingegaard? They shouldn’t be holding anything back because Monday is a rest day.
After a 13km descent and 2km in the streets of Andorra, at the end of a 400m straight on the 19.6 feet wide Avinguda de Tarragona.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Avenue d’Espagne, Céret, 6:20 a.m.; start (after 3.8km neutral to km0), 6:30 a.m.; Prades (141.1km to go), 7:54 a.m.; Olette (sprint, 124.4km to go), 8:21 a.m.; Montée do Mont-Louis (Cat. 1, 105km to go), 8:59 a.m.; Font-Romeu (96.4km to go), 9:12 a.m.; Col de Puymorens (Cat. 2, 58.2km to go), 10:14 a.m.; Port d’Envalira (Cat. 1, Souvenir Henri Desgrange, 44.6km to go), 10:44 a.m.; Col de Beixalis (Cat. 1 + bonus, 14.8km to go), 11:27 a.m.; Quillan (finish, 191.3km), 11:46 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.