Stage 13: Châtel-Guyon - Puy Mary Cantal
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) I haven't picked him yet, but this seems like a good stage to stamp his authority on the race. Probably the strongest team will surely dominate on possibly the hardest stage.
Tiesj Benoot (Team Sunweb) Sunweb's stage hunters have freedom to chase breakaways and this is prime Tiesj territory – punchy, repetitive climbs without any ridiculous altitude. He should have had enough time to recover mentally and physically from his crash in the first week too.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton Scott) At a glance this stage looks relatively benign, but apparently it's the climbiest day of the whole race, with 4,400m of upwards bicycling. There are lots of riders who will be up for it, and plenty who have lost enough time. Alaphilippe is the obvious answer to the question posed by this stage, and it's got a certain Valverde-ish flavour to it as well, but I'm going for the boy from Bury to get one on the board.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) It's a big day in the mountains and there is one rider whom I think has the duty to attack. Primoz Roglic has shown signs of excellent form, but is yet to make that leg-breaking move, I think the yellow jersey will take the fight to the summit here and eke out some extra time.
Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) He’s already come close on stage 8, finishing second to Nans Peters (or Peter’s Nan, as Moley likes to say). The potato-powered king of Latvia is bound to give it another crack. I’m banking on it being this one.
Cycling Mole says...
Top work from Ian, I think we were all happy to see Marc Hirschi taking a well-deserved win. My man, Julian Alaphilippe, tried his best but it wasn’t to be.
Onto stage 13, and a day in hills of the Massif Central. The last two climbs are absolutely brutal, with many sections with double digit gradients. Just like every day from now until Paris, I need to evaluate the chances of the breakaway taking the win. Jumbo-Visma are the dominant team, they don’t need to chase, but they still might. The early cat 1 is great news for the climbers looking to make the move, we could well see a group of strong climbers escape the bunch, it would then be game over in terms of the stage win.
Ian and Andy are on the break, but Ian’s pick of Toms Skujinš is a horrible one, he simply isn’t good enough to win this type of stage. Nice to see that normal service will resume for Ian! Andy is on my mate Tiesj, but he isn’t looking at his very best, he would need to be to take the win.
The rest of the boys are on the GC riders to take the win. Nick must have been sitting in his sunbed for too long, Adam Yates doesn’t stand a chance of winning this one. Ben and Miles play it safe with Roglič, he will start as the favourite to take the win.
I think the break will again take the win; I just don’t see a team chasing all day for Roglič to win. My breakaway pick will be Dani Martinez, the sensational Colombian from EF.