Tour de France Stage 19 Preview
Friday, July 16
Sprinters’ red-carpet ride
It’s been a long time since a Tour stage crossed the Landes, the very flat pine forest south of Bordeaux. The forecast north wind is unlikely to be a factor because the trees provide plenty of shelter in the Landes. There are a few undulations at the start and toward the end of the stage, but the last 7 kilometers are on a superb road, one that you could almost say is too straight. In short, this is a stage that’s totally dedicated to the sprinters. It’s also the last opportunity for the breakaway specialists, but with a headwind all day it will be very hard for them to fend off the teams dedicated to getting their sprinters to a bunch finish. The big question is: Can Mark Cavendish win his 35th Tour stage and beat the all-time record of Eddy Merckx? Or will he be beaten Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli, Jasper Philipsen or Wout van Aert?
After 2km on the streets of Libourne, at the end of a flat 6,500m straight on the 21.3 feet wide D1089.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Avenue Charles-Moureu, Mourenx: 6:20 a.m.; start on D9 at Lagor (after 4.4km neutral to km0), 6:30 a.m.; Côte de Bareille (Cat. 4, 194.9km to go), 6:47 a.m.; Saint-Sever (sprint, 152.9km to go), 7:45 a.m.; Mont-de-Marsan (136.3km to go), 8:09 a.m.; Barsac(43.1km to go), 10:19 a.m.; Libourne (finish, 207km), 11:19 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.