Tour de France Stage 17 Preview
MURET–COL DU PORTET (Saint-Lary-Soulan)
Wednesday, July 14
178.4km (mountains, summit finish)
Pyrénées IV: The Tour’s Toughest Finale
A green-jersey contender may well get into the day’s early breakaway because the route is virtually flat for 115 kilometers until the day’s intermediate sprint at Luchon; but even if the break gets a 10-minute lead it won’t have the stage won given the tremendously difficult 65 kilometers that remain. The consecutive ascents of the Peyresourde, Val Louron-Azet and Portet are identical to the stage won by Nairo Quintana in 2018. The Col du Portet, which rises to 2,215 meters (7,267 feet), is the hardest climb in the Pyrénées. There will certainly be a major showdown on the 16-kilometer ascent that concludes what should be the Tour’s most decisive stage. This being Bastille Day, the French national holiday, French climber David Gaudu is a potential stage winner—if can again get into the day’s early breakaway. But the focus will be on the battle for the podium—race leader Pogačar has looked strong on the first three Pyrenean stages, so it will be up to his nearest challengers, Urán, Vingegaard, Carapaz, O’Connor and Kelderman (who are all within a minute of each other on GC), to animate the finale.
After a climb of 16km averaging 8.7 percent, at the end of a 40m straight on an 18 feet wide mountain road.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Place du Languedoc, Muret: 5:55 a.m.; start on D15 (after 9.8km neutral to km0), 6:10 a.m.; Saint-Gaudens (110.5km to go), 7:52 a.m.; Bagnères-de-Luchon (sprint, 65km to go), 9:00 a.m.; Col de Peyresourde (Cat. 1, 49.3km to go), 9:35 a.m.; Loudenvielle (38.8km to go), 9:47 a.m.; Col du Val Louron-Azet (Cat. 1, 28.9km to go), 10:09 a.m.; Saint-Lary-Soulan (18.2km to go), 10:22 a.m.; Col du Portet (Hors-Cat, finish, 178.4km), 11:06 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.