With 15 stages completed, the Tour de France has been a great time to be a Garmin-Cervelo fan. With Thor Hushovd’s brilliant victory on stage 13 and Tom Danielson riding strong in 9th overall, we’re looking forward to the third and final week of the Tour.
Thor Hushovd on his way to winning stage 13 in Lourdes:
This week, everyone’s attention is on the incredibly tough stage profiles of stages 16 through 20. Beginning with stage 16, the riders face what could be a transitional stage, or a significant challenge for GC contenders. The second category Col de Manse gains 523 meters and summits just 10k from the finish. Predicted low temperatures and heavy rainfall in Gap could also play a role in stage 16.
Stage 17 moves into Italy after crossing 4 categorized climbs including the category 2 climb Cote de Pramartino featuring a tricky descent into Pinerolo. With two tough climbs coming immediately before the finish on stages 16 and 17, look for GC contenders to attack in an attempt to catch their rivals off guard.
Stage 18 takes the shape of a traditional high mountain day of racing in the alps. Three Hors Category climbs are on tap, with a combined 75km of climbing over 3900 meters of elevation gain, stage 18 will be decisive in deciding the final GC. Don’t miss the final 36k climb of the Galibier, one of the most famous “giants” of the Tour de France.
Stage 19 is another high mountain day of racing in the alps. Featuring the Galibier, the Telegraph and the famous Alpe d’Huez, stage 19 will be another decisive day for the general classification. If there was a “can’t miss” stage of this year’s Tour, we’d have to give the nod to stage 19.
Stage 20 in Grenoble is one of the tougher final individual time trials in recent memory. With a very lumpy course profile, this ITT should favor the climbers, but time trial specialists like David Millar will likely be giving his all for the stage win.
Stage 21 finally brings the Tour out of the alps and into Paris. This is the one remaining sprint stage, so look for another battle for the stage win from Tyler Farrar.
More photos from the Tour de France: