Stage 19: Bourg-en-Bresse - Champagnole (166.5km)
Matteo Trentin (CCC Team) Don’t get me wrong, I like Michal Kwiatkowski in many ways, and was so happy to see him get his just rewards on stage 18, especially as he is a fan and friend of Rouleur, as you can see above. BUT gifting the stage to my pick Carapaz? Mate, you are off my Christmas card list. Can’t be bothered to look at this stage – not that I’m sulking or anything. How about Trentin, Moley?
Greg Van Avermaet (Team CCC) The profile for Stage 19 couldn’t look more Belgian if it came with a bowl of mussels and a 25% ABV monk-brewed beer, all wrapped in ribbons of red tape. (jk jk) They're are plenty of Low Country riders who are going to fancy this one, but it's got to be the big guy, GVA.
Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) I'm a little bit gutted as I had today earmarked for Hirshi, but seeing him hit the deck yesterday means that's looking unlikely. Frankly, though, I wouldn't put it past another of the breakaway regulars giving it a stab. My chip goes on Lennard Kämna.
Daniel Martinez (EF) It feels like Jonathan Vaughters has been on the screen every ten minutes lauding Uran's low maintenance reliability so I think the team will be happy with Dani Martinez having a crack at a stage which looks well-suited to him.
Cycling mole says...
Poor old Ian. His pick of Rickyyyyyy Carapaz was looking amazing, up until Pello Bilbao was dropped. At that point just imagine his panic as he frantically scrolled through his contacts in the hope of finding Dave Brailsford’s number. Unfortunately for Ian, big Dave had his phone on mute and decided the stage would go to Kwiatkowski. Ouch!
Stage 19 and one that would normally end in a sprint, that is if it wasn’t stage 19 of the Tour de France. Nine times out of ten this would be a breakaway win, but Bora might have other ideas. Putting your whole team to work at this point of the race is a bold move, it won’t be a popular one either. Special mention about the closing kilometres. The organisers clearly have no clue about bike racing and have thrown in a fast descent, on an incredibly narrow road, with 6.5km to go. It is bordering on the ridiculous and has no place at a race of this size. Okay, rant over.
The team are all on the break, they don’t often agree with each other. The last half of the stage is lumpy but not one for the climbers, which is bad news for Miles and Ben. Sorry boys, but Kämna and Martinez are wasted picks. Andy is going with Nikias Arndt, a rider made for this type of stage. He was very close to winning a similar stage back in 2017 and he’d love to complete his grand tour set. Ian and Nick are going all CCC on us, with Trentin and Van Avermaet. Both picks can’t be argued with, especially Trentin who’s looked very impressive throughout the whole race.
I do worry that Bora will control things, but I hope I’m wrong. I’ll pick a rider who covers the break and sprint. It’s one of his last days in the rainbow jersey, I’m thinking Mads Pedersen will sign off in style.