A truncated stage 14 lasting just 118km, climaxes on the Col du Tourmalet – one of the most iconic climbs in cycling. The highest peak in the Pyrennees this year is a mountain top finish which promises to deliver a telling blow in the quest for yellow.
Julian Alaphillipe continues to defy expectations and produced a superb Individual time trial on stage 13 to top the standings and extend his overall advantage. It leaves his team Quick Step in a fantastic position with protegee Enrico Mas well placed in fourth overall and also in with a claim.
Yesterday’s result means that we will see riders with designs on challenging forced to make a move today, on this brute of a climb lasting 19km and with testing gradients throughout.
Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet know they must at least attempt an attack for the podium while Movistar’s Mikel Landa is sure to be given licence to go in hunt of the stage, while team mate Nairo Quintana will surely try and take back time on a climb which is ideal for his tempo riding.
It is possible that Ineos ride aggressively with a view to launching stage favourite, Geraint Thomas, on the Tourmalet in a quest for the stage win. Overall we believe there are too many teams with irons in the fire to allow the breakaway stay away.
So a GC day and with Quintana nearly 4 minutes down it’s now or never for the diminutive Colombian. Movistar will have Landa up the road and also Valverde available to bridge and potentially lead him down the descent of the first climb of the day – Col du Solour, a veritable test in its own right.
Equally Egan Bernal will be an interesting one to watch to see if Ineos have gone all in on Thomas or if they let Bernal attack.
Its all set up for a compelling battle and one which we see value in backing our GC picks to make a play, with Quintana looking the more likely today given Pinot’s preference for the Alps likely to play out this time next week.
Nairo Quintana to win Stage 14 , 1pt win, 16/1 (Betway)
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