2014 Tour de France, Stage 18: Pau–Hautacam (145.5 Km)

Aug 16, 2011
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2014 Tour de France, Stage 18: Pau–Hautacam (145.5 Km)





Overview and prediction via rghysens.
Overview:
Still 4 stages to go and it’s already the last mountain stage. That’s something we don’t see in the last editions of the Giro or Vuelta, where the organizers have mountains close to race finish at their disposal. It can be done with the tour, as we saw last year, in 2011 and 2009. But when the Pyrenees are the last mountain range, it would mean a too long transfers on the last day, not in the least for the logistic caravan. So, just like in 2012, 2010, 2007,… we’ll get some flat stages and a TT during the last days.
But today, on the other hand, we get a real ASO-special, the one-and-only “let’s-crate-a-shortish-stage-where-we-link-the-Tourmalet-with-a-MTF”.

With a total length of 145,5 km we get another mountain stage that lacks some “epicness”. The race starts with a bit less than 80 flat kilometers, than the legendary Tourmalet, the most climbed col in the Tour. With 17.1km @ 7.3% it’s certainly not an easy one, but we can’t consider it surprising.



The descent of the Tourmalet is followed by 17km of gently downhill false flat and then the final climb towards Hautacam, who celebrates its 20th anniversary this year (first used in 1994, in a 264km). In those 20 years it some tarnished winners like Luc Leblanc, Bjarne Riis, Lance Armstrong and Leonardo Piepoli. Well, it only saw tarnished winners. Will that be a bad omen for the winner today? Anyway, being 13.6km @ 7.8% Hautacam certainly deserves its HC-label. There are even some really steep pitches (above 10%) in the second half.



Predictions:
A lot will depend on the standings in GC: if the leader has a good gap on the second, I can see a break taking it. But if it’s a close battle, I think he who thinks himself the best climber will let his team work to get the stage win.

General Classification after Stage 17
1. NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) 76:41:28
2. VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 5:26
3. PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) + 6:00
4. PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 6:08
5. BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 7:34
6. VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 10:19
7. MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) + 11:59
8. TEN DAM, Laurens (BELKIN) + 12:16
9. KONIG, Leopold (NETAPP - ENDURA) + 12:40
10. ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 13:15
11. ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Haimar (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 14:26
12. VAN DEN BROECK, Jurgen (LOTTO BELISOL) + 16:08
13. SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 18:03
14. TROFIMOV, Yury (KATUSHA) + 28:00
15. PORTE, Richie (SKY) + 31:00

KOM Standings
1. MAJKA RafalTinkoff-Saxo 149
2. NIBALI VincenzoAstana Pro Team 118
3. RODRÍGUEZ JoaquimTeam Katusha 112
 
Sep 2, 2010
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Tinkoff to control the peloton until the top of the Tourmalet as pay back for Nibali not going for the stage today. Astana to take over on the final climb and VN will win.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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phanatic said:
Hope Nibali goes deep for the win here; would really love to see Majka ride in the same group and go head to head with him.
I don't think Majka is climbing as well as the GC guys.
 
Sep 2, 2010
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phanatic said:
Hope Nibali goes deep for the win here; would really love to see Majka ride in the same group and go head to head with him.
Majka would get smashed because typically he rides hard for one day and then takes a sunday stroll in the grupetto the next.

Do you really think a guy who has ridden the Giro, and who was the 4th or 5th best climber in the Giro is climbing better than all the GC riders? What type of logic is that?
 
May 28, 2014
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whittashau said:
Majka would get smashed because typically he rides hard for one day and then takes a sunday stroll in the grupetto the next.

Do you really think a guy who has ridden the Giro, and who was the 4th or 5th best climber in the Giro is climbing better than all the GC riders? What type of logic is that?
So GC Riders in TdF are by the definition all better than GC Riders in Giro?
 
whittashau said:
Majka would get smashed because typically he rides hard for one day and then takes a sunday stroll in the grupetto the next.

Do you really think a guy who has ridden the Giro, and who was the 4th or 5th best climber in the Giro is climbing better than all the GC riders? What type of logic is that?
It's called Tinkoff Tour Peak Magic®
 
Sep 2, 2010
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Czapiewski said:
So GC Riders in TdF are by the definition all better than GC Riders in Giro?
the 4th or 5th best GC rider in the Giro, who peaked for the Giro isn't climbing better than the very best GC riders in the Tour.

I'm not saying Majka isn't climbing well, but he's mostly using freshness to level the playing field. The GC riders ride hard every day. He rode in the grupetto for a week and half, and now he's alternating days where he goes for it.
 
May 28, 2010
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I would love it if somebody tried a long ranger. Bardet again, perhaps? Movistar and FDJ won't allow it though, 'cause Ag2r could then play some games and perhaps get Peraud to the 2nd place even before the TT. And Movistar alone is probably strong enough to bring him back before Hautacam.

There is no reason to wait tomorrow, so hopefully the top guys just duke it out full blast.
 
Feb 19, 2014
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Its stating the obvious but i think Nibali might want this stage and will win here.Does Astana let the break take it again?? Surely not,last big stage,time to show who the boss has been.
 
whittashau said:
the 4th or 5th best GC rider in the Giro, who peaked for the Giro isn't climbing better than the very best GC riders in the Tour.

I'm not saying Majka isn't climbing well, but he's mostly using freshness to level the playing field. The GC riders ride hard every day. He rode in the grupetto for a week and half, and now he's alternating days where he goes for it.
Having Giro in his legs I would say he isnt more fresh than contenders. I think it levels a field though. Anyway, I find it really impressive especially since so far he has been passive all the time and didnt know how to use his energy.

Right now he is learning, and found new confidence making him very entertaining in mountain stages (hell, stage 13 he took 2nd without going with breakaway). Next year will be very telling. Contador most likely going to target TdF as well so Majka going for Giro again. I think he has a real shot at it if Quinata, Nibali, Froome and Contador all go for TdF
 
Aug 16, 2011
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The KOM battle could be interesting tomorrow. Will be Rodriguez's last chance to win polka dots. Majka and Tinkoff though will surly want to keep a close eye on him. 2 HC's (and two cat 3's), one being a MTF, so 79 total points on offer.

Standings
1. MAJKA RafalTinkoff-Saxo 149
2. NIBALI VincenzoAstana Pro Team 118
3. RODRÍGUEZ JoaquimTeam Katusha 112

Point breakdown: 25,20,16,14,12,10,8,6,4,2 (double for Hautacam).
 
Tournesol said:
Its stating the obvious but i think Nibali might want this stage and will win here.Does Astana let the break take it again?? Surely not,last big stage,time to show who the boss has been.
Real question is if Astana is strong enough to bring back the break. I dont think they are, and hoping other teams wont help them (they really have no reason too, they are not going to drop Nibali on Tourmalet and isolating him hasnt been much help)
 
Feb 19, 2014
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damian13ster said:
Real question is if Astana is strong enough to bring back the break. I dont think they are, and hoping other teams wont help them (they really have no reason too, they are not going to drop Nibali on Tourmalet and isolating him hasnt been much help)
Very true,i don't think Astana are strong enough to bring back a big strong break,i think Nibali would maybe be expected to pass on this stage but just think he might want the stage just to put a cherry on top of his performance in the race.
 
whittashau said:
Majka would get smashed because typically he rides hard for one day and then takes a sunday stroll in the grupetto the next.

Do you really think a guy who has ridden the Giro, and who was the 4th or 5th best climber in the Giro is climbing better than all the GC riders? What type of logic is that?
Yes, but there is only one GC rider who counts. As for logic, he has the mountains jersey, and two stage victories and a second. Further, he was just toying with his competition today; it was a dominant victory from a select group of climbers.
 
Jul 12, 2014
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phanatic said:
Yes, but there is only one GC rider who counts. As for logic, he has the mountains jersey, and two stage victories and a second. Further, he was just toying with his competition today; it was a dominant victory from a select group of climbers.
He came 6th in Giro, 3 minutes behind Aru lol :)
 

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