A tough hilly stage awaits the Tour de France riders today with an early category 1 climb, then a day of smaller climbs ending with the long drag up to Puy Mary Cantal.
More yellow jersey action looks likely on that final ascent, but on a truly arduous day it is questionable whether any of the leading teams will look to control a breakaway in order to allow for that battle to also be for stage honours.
Instead this looks a day for the breakaway, and with the platform being the early category 1 climb then only specialist climbers need apply.
The series of climbs throughout the day may also play into the hands of any King Of The Mountains hopefuls.
Yesterday’s winner Max Hirshi could therefore make the break again, and an array of unthreatening climbers including Warren Barguil, Omar Fraile, Dani Martinez, Dan Martin, David Gaudu and Mikel Nieve makes for the kind of long shortlist that almost guarantees frustration when we pick the wrong one !!
Nonetheless pick we will, and first up is precious polka dots champion Warren Barguil who has identified this as a stage that should suit him. He has a contender in Nairo Quintana for the yellow jersey, but it may be no tactical blunder to send Barguil up the road in any case should the peleton get close enough for him to act as a staging post for a Nairo attack. We don’t think the peleton will, in which case the stage win could be his for the taking.
Another Frenchman gets second billing in the form of David Gaudu. The talented climber is off the leash after the eclipse of team leader Thibault Pinot and this looks just the stage for him to get involved.
Doubtless one of the others on our shortlist will take the honours but it one of Barguil or Gaudu can make the break we should get a long day of raiseed hopes…
David Gaudu to win stage 13 of the TdF, 1pt win, 20/1
Warren Barguil to win stage 13 of the TdF, 1pt win, 33/1
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