Tour de France: Stage 10-16 previewsMon 13 Jul 2015
Prepare yourself for the second week of racing at Le Tour de France by reading our stage previews with comments from sport director Matt White.
Stage 10: Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin (167km)
Riders jump straight from the first rest day into a potentially big general classification day so how the legs respond to the break will play a major role in who factors on stage ten.
After a rolling opening 150km with three small category-four climbs, the last 15km is up. Up to 1610m on a tough hors category climb.
Matt White: “On paper this looks like a general classification day and with a few of the favourites with some time to make up from the first week, they aren’t going to leave it until too late in the Tour. We obviously have the Yates brothers who can climb, but whether we choose this day to let them fly will depend largely on how the GC teams decide to attack it.”
Stage 11: Pau to Cauterets – Vallee de Saint-Savin (188km)
A series of smaller climbs are followed by category one and hors category climb before a super fast decent eventual leads to the sixth and final climb of the day.
With a hors category finish the day prior and another the day following, this could be a day the general classification teams allow some leeway for the break.
Matt White: “This is a solid day in the Pyrenees. We will learn a little bit about some of the second week intentions of teams from the stage prior and that will help us determine what cards we play on a stage like this.”
Stage 12: Lazzemezan to Plateau de Beille (195km)
Stage 12 is a hard finish to three solid days in the Pyrenees. As riders tackle four climbs, the ascents will get harder and their legs heavier.
Just 4.3km in length, the first climb, a category two, is the shortest by a long way but at 9.7% is also the steepest. Roll down from that into two category-one climbs before a lazy hors category to finish.
Matt White: “A taxing day on narrow roads with climb after climb. There will be a break but traditionally a day like today will be controlled by the big teams to battle out for victory on the last climb.”
Stage 13: Muret to Rodez (198.5km)
A flat start with some smaller, more welcome, climbs to finish after a few big days in the Pyrenees.
How hard the previous days are ridden may determine who is interested in shaping stage 13. It’s a day that could favour a breakaway, but could also be an opportunity for teams with sprinters who can handle the smaller climbs.
Matt White: “There are multiple opportunities on a stage like this. It may be one where a break is allowed to stay away, but it could also come back to a reduced group arrival and with a hard kick to the line it's not a day for the pure sprinter.
Stage 14: Rodez to Medne (178.5km)
Another short steep finish – like the Mur de Huy and Muy de Bretagne, only a little tougher.
But potentially even more defining is the undulating start, long descent and 80km flat mid-section. These are the ingredients of a breakaway recipe. The question is - what kind of advantage will they need ahead of the three climbs in the last 40km?
Matt White: “With an undulating first 40km this stage has break written all over it. There could be 20 teams all with the same idea. On a day like that, making the break is quite the task.”
Stage 15: Mende to Valence (183km)
An uphill start to the day will mean there is no warming into stage 15.
After the initial challenge, the next real tester is a category two climb 60km from the finish. This point will likely determine whether it’s a day for the breakaway, or another opportunity for a reduced bunch sprint.
Matt White: “This will be another battle between the breakaway and the team’s with sprinters that can handle a couple of climbs. We have cards to play in both scenarios.”
Stage 16: Bourg de Peage to Gap (201km)
A 201km uphill drag to the second rest day. Literally.
The road gradually rises for much of the day, increasing for two category-two climbs and breaking for their subsequent descents. The latter climb and its technical descent will play am important role in the finale in Gap.
Matt White: “It could take the break a while to stick on stage 16 but they have some chance of survival if it’s the right combination. It’s a fast descent into Gap, but it’s a final we have seen many times before.”