The crescendo of the Tour De France begins on Tuesday as the riders refreshed from the second rest day begin to tackle the Alps with three gargantuan stages in a row.
Wednesday in particular looks likely to be decisive in the quest for the yellow jersey and podium places with two HC category climbs which total over 38 kilometres of climbing.
Bearing that in mind, Tuesday’s stage looks prime for stage hunters who are capable of climbing with four categorised climbs within the 164km day.
It’s rare for someone to pop up out of the blue at this stage so expect to see the usual suspects attempting to get up the road. Pierre Roland and Marc Hirschi have shown superb form of late while Daniel Martinez will be looking to double up with another stage victory.
Some climbers may be kept on team duty so although Mikel Nieve appeals he may not get licence to roam. The same may apply to Martinez with Rigoberto Uran now so close the podium.
Blog favourite Omar Fraille enters calculations but our headline pick is Sunweb team leader Tiesj Benoot. A disappointing GC challenge will soon be forgotten if the Belgian can grab a stage win.
He has shown his climbing legs on the toughest of terrains in the past with some superb performances in the Dauphine. Sunweb have been the most innovative team on the tour and will be looking to add yet another stage win having enjoyed so much success in the past two weeks. Benoot looks a prime candidate here with the indefatigable Hirschi for support.
Another team whose GC bid lies in tatters are Ineos and you have to think the rest of the tour is a salvage mission for a stage win.
Step forward the man who has tried in vain to keep Egan Bernal to the fore – Michal Kwiatkowski. He has sacrificed his own personal success over the past few years for a massive pay cheque but surely he will be allowed hunt for the stage now that Bernal’s hopes are extinguished.
He is more than capable on this terrain and the climbs will hold no fears for the talented dynamo.
The GC action in behind should be a side show as the breakaway shoot up the rode and fight out glory.
Tiesj Benoot to win stage 16 of TDF, 1pt win, 28/1
Michal Kwiatkowski to win stage 16 of TDF, 1pt win, 16/1
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