The Tour completes its second week with a superb stage encompassing 3 supremely testing climbs which culminate in the HC climb of the Col Du Grand Colombier.
In terms of gradient it is not overly challenging averaging out at 6.9% however lasting for 17.4km on the heels of two preceding Category 1 climbs it is sure to blow the GC wide open.
Overall the breakaways this year have been less successful than in other tours as teams have been keen to keep the riders up the road on a leash for various reasons. With bonus seconds in play and two mid-stage testing climbs to soften up the challengers any GC contender with designs on wrestling the yellow jersey from Primoz Roglic will look at today as the ideal opportunity.
Probably more likely is the idea that Roglic sees this as a chance to copper-fasten his hold on the malliot jeune and makes his team again ride a high tempo before launching an attack on the giant Colombier. With these scenarios in our mind we predict a GC battle for stage honours.
Friday’s finale is the first place to start when we consider current form and Roglic is a worthy favourite at the top of the market having distanced all but countryman Tadej Pogocar in that climb to the line. They could well duel again here, and if that is the case we can still sit pretty with our yellow jersey punt on Pogocar, the value for the stage win however may lie elsewhere.
Last year’s winner Egan Bernal had no response on Friday and is still waiting to find the legs that saw him destroy the field last year. That said, this stage looks ideal if team Ineos want to try and ride with aggression and launch him up the final climb. That could blow the stage open but perhaps not for Bernal on current showing. Similarly Nairo Quintana looked below his best in a climb on Friday that would previously have look tailor made for him.
There is every chance one of the podium chasers can come good on a true high mountain stage that is unlike any of the previous tests, and one who we deem has this ability is Mikel Landa. The Bahrain Merida rider has been able to go with nearly every attack this year and still has designs on a top three here. On his day he is an elite climber who can ramp up the tempo over a long distance and looks a fantastic play for stage honours today.
Another we believe can launch an attack for stage glory is Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez and he looks worthy of consideration. He is another who is more than capable of riding in the elite group to the very end and has the kind of surge of speed that could pinch a stage win if he is still in what’s left of any bunch on the very steep last km of this stage.
Mikel Landa to win Stage 15, 1pt e/w, 25/1
Miguel Angel Lopez to win Stage 15, 0.5pt e/w, 25/1
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