Tour de France: Stage 17-21 previewsTue 21 Jul 2015
Prepare yourself for the final week of racing at Le Tour de France by reading our stage previews with comments from sport director Matt White.
Stage 17: Digne-Les-Bains to Pra Loup (161km)
Following the rest day in Gap, stage 17 is the first of four stages in the Alps in the final week of racing at the Tour de France.
Of the five climbs, the penultimate category one is the toughest on what on paper seems to be the easiest of the four mountain stages to come.
Could be a day for the break, but as the final stage before the rest day showed, the general classification teams are going to throw everything they have at Froome for these four days.
Matt White: “This was the stage that Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) won in the Dauphine and Simon Yates also had very good final. A solid day in the office with three climbs before the long category one climb. We then have a fast, technical descent before the final category two to the line.”
Stage 18: Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (186.5km)
Seven categorised climbs, including five smaller ascents in the first 85km, make this stage an appealing one for a strong climbing break.
A hors category climb, which peaks with 40km to the finish, is the toughest of the day but a final category two with ten kilometres to go will also prove crucial.
Matt White: “This is a really hard day, especially at this late stage in the Tour. Only a select few will be up for it. We will assess how the climbers are feeling before we decide if this is a stage targetable for us.”
Stage 19: Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne to La Toussuire – Les Sybelles (138km)
Stage 19 is probably the hardest of the Tour, not for the faint-hearted, and definitely for the strongest climbers.
There may not be as many climbs as the day prior, but with a hors category, two category one, and a category two ascent, it’s going to be brutal.
Matt White: “To have 60 plus kilometres of climbing in such a short stage is of epic proportions. And to add to that, this will probably be the day that Chris Froome’s main rivals throw everything they have at him, so expect an interesting battle.
Stage 20: Modane Valfrejus to Alpe D’Huez (110.5km)
The Alpe D’Huez climb is a familiar finale at the Tour de France and as the final mountain stage of this year’s Tour, expect fireworks.
Two hors category climbs mean that the road is either up or down for this 110.5km stage.
Matt White: “A short, intense penultimate day. Landslides have seen a slight change to the course, but regardless it’ll be a fierce one.”
Stage 21: Sevres – Grand Paris Seine Ouest – Paris Champs-Elysees
The 2015 Tour de France wraps up with the traditional stage into Paris with laps on the Champs Elysees.
Traditionally a sprint stage, it’s hard to see that changing.
Matt White: “The new tradition of having short stage, which starts and finishes late, is a nice way to end the lap of France. It’s been ten years since a breakaway survived, but regardless teams, including us, want to go out with a bang.”