Rouleur predicts... Tour de France stage 15
It's a brutal day in the Alps to Grand Colombier. Cycling Mole has short shrift for certain selections, while he opts for the race's breakaway revelation
Evidently, like the Spanish inquisition, nobody expects Søren Kragh Andersen. Our tipsters all had decent picks, but the Dane was not among yesterday's pre-stage prognostics.
No matter. Onto a decisive day in the Alps, finishing on the Grand Colombier. Cor, just look at that last 70 kilometres. Brutal.
The question is, will an escape hang out in front, or will the favourites shut it down?
Stage 15: Lyon - Grand Colombier (174.5km)
Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) The younger of this race's Slovenian superstars seems to be the best climber in the race so far, but the question remains as to how long he can sustain it. Also, it's not clear how much his dwindling team can support their leader as the going gets tougher.
But I think Pogacar will still have the legs for today and I don't think he'll be able to resist the temptation – probably over-extending himself a bit too much in the process.
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) I rode up this climb in 2016. Someone stole my Garmin off my bike which means not only do I not have fond memories, I don't even have a record of the ride. It's like it didn't happen. First real summit finish, another rest day looming. The Ineos leader has to try something, doesn't he?
A rare off day for everyone, but at least I nailed the correct scenario!
Stage 15 and a huge day in the mountains. We have three monster climbs; they are incredibly hard. Yet again, I need to consider the chances of the breakaway. Which of the GC teams will want to chase? I just don’t see any team with the strength and will to chase down the morning move, it’s another great day for the attackers.
Only Andy is favouring the morning move, which doesn’t surprise me, it’s always safer to pick one of the GC riders. David Gaudu is a hugely talented cyclist, one of my favourites. He crashed hard at the start of the race, but is hoping to come good in this final week. If he makes the break, he’s a good pick.
The rest of the team are favouring the GC riders, but we still have a few strange picks. Nick remembers the climb, but he clearly doesn’t remember the last few stages! No way Bernal wins this one, the same goes for López, sorry Ian.
At least Ben and Miles are picking the obvious ones, it’s very hard to see anyone else winning from the GC group. If it does come back together, I would favour Primoz Roglič over Pogačar.
I think we’ll see another crazy start, with the break taking a long time to establish. Once it does, Team Sunweb will do their thing and Marc Hirschi will take another win.