Saturday, July 14, 2012

TdF Stage 14 Preview

Stage 14 is almost the mirror image of Stage 13. Instead of two first category climbs near the start, followed by a long descent to sea-level, it starts out mostly flat by has two first category climbs in the second half, before another generally descending finish. Definitely not one for the pure sprinters. No doubt a group of non-GC riders will form an early break and try to stay away, but they will likely be caught on the first Cat 1 climb, and then the fireworks will start. I fully expect Evans and Nibali to throw everything they have at Wiggo and Team Sky on one of those two climbs, but I do not expect them to succeed barring mechanical or other problems. Even if someone has a substantial advantage at the summit of the second climb, they may have trouble holding it for 40k all the way to the finish. Could Sagan possibly drag himself over the climbs close enough to the mountain goats to catch them on the descent and then out sprint them for the victory? That's a tough ask. I think it's more likely that one of the "heads of state"  - probably the one with the most teammates left after the final climb - will take the stage victory, but without putting much time into his rivals.

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