2015 Tour de France Stage 11: Pau › Cauterets

Aug 4, 2010
After typical Unipublic mountain stage (which was enough for Froome to semi-win TdF :p ) real mountains are coming.The ultimate test for all GC riders or climbers is a stage with 3 (rather 2) difficult climbs where the best can unleash their climbing skills to all pretenders and so-called ‘climbers’.

So here we go ... Aspin-Tourmalet-Cautarets. Ouuhh yea, Tourmalet again, but we all kind of like this climb from those epic battles, so let me guide you through today’s stage, if you are not too fed up. (nahh its just sport :p :D )


As we saw today (yesterday), after a long trip across the north coast of France and Netherlands riders headed south to the Pyrenees, after rest day and PSM they came back again to well know (too well mehh) city of Pau to start of the Stage 11.As you can see from the map, (Ohh a map in the OP :p) from Pau peloton will head south-east through the beautiful town of Lourdes.After passing that sprinters will be in a hurry on the front to collect some last points which left after a (big) breakaway (really flat, profile not important). After this little sprint peloton will continue SE to the well-known spa center Bagneres de Biggore and from it straight south to the bottom of Col d’Aspin.After this nice ‘little’ climb they will head west across Tourmalet and finally arriving to Cauterets where the final pain will deliver its fruits to bloodthirsty fans.

First of the 3 consecutive climbs is the second toughest of those, Aspin. Climb of approximately 12 km with average grade of 6,5% is perfect place to put the hammer down for the late breakaway or a surprise attack from domestics de luxe like Majka,Valverde or Taaramae.The climb will be climbed from its hardest side from Arreau, its peak is approx at 1500m and its hardest part is 4km to the top, so almost perfect for the attacks against confused Sky train.

After the fast descent from Aspin riders will tackle the biggest beast of this stage The ASO Mythical Col du Tourmalet.The climb will be climbed from the east side from Campan, which is the more regular side I think, so its ideal for riding tempo, OTOH attacks are inevitable after today's (yesterday’s) stage.Esp from rider like Nibali, Rolland or even Purito we can see a great spectacle considering ‘toughness’ of the last climb and 20km descent right before Cauterets.Specifically its a 17km climb which starts easy to harden up to the top with some 10 percentages sections in its middle section, the top is at 2115 meteres which is the heightest point riders climbed so far in this race, obviously.

After a looong descent from Tourmalet riders will head to the last and deciding climb of Cauterets.Its a very soft climb in comparison with 2 preceding climbs.It starts at only 490 meters and has a top below 1000m, so not really hot for a tough climbers like Nairito n Co.The middle part is the most steep with sections around 6%, but the average is even below 5%.This climb could be a *** if preceded climbs were ridden very hard, if not, you can expect a group sprint to the top IMO.As you can see the GPM of ‘Cote de Cauterets’ is actually more than 3km before the finish line but I doubt it will play a significant role for the stage and GC battles.

GC after STAGE 10
2.Van Garderen +2'52''
3.Quintana +3'09''
4.Valverde +4'01''
5.Thomas +4'03''
6.Contador +4'04''
7.Gallopin +4'33''
8.Gesink 4'35''
9.Barguil +6'12''
10.Nibali +6'57''

4 Pau:

4 Cauterets:

* * * Froome
* * Quintana
* SKY,Gesink,Barguil,Rolland,Rodriguez,Valverde + (Pinot,Costa,Vuillermoz,Sepulveda etc for break)

After a massive explosion on stage 10 we can expect a chaos 2013 (stage 9) like I think.Only team that could put Sky under a pressure is Movistar (maybe Saxo but AC is in a bad form), and so I think they will do it at least on Tourmalet.Their tactics in stage 10 were good I think, Quintana needs the hardest pace and profile possible to be able hold on with Froome, so expect fireworks from them.On the other note there could be a biiig breakaway with people like Pinot, Costa, Talansky or even Rodriguez. It all depends how Sky will manage chaotic depart of the stage and attacks on Aspin.
Sky procession up Tourmalet. Only team that could potentially think about attacking up Tourmalet is Movistar, but they already burned their matches today. Valverde and Contador will attack downhill, with Nibali if he has recovered. Maybe Gesink or Nairo take a dig in Cauterets.
Sep 16, 2009

Escarabajo said:
Breakaway time!!!!
No way to control so many good riders that dropped today.
If not Valverde for the sprint!
If the break doesn't make it then it will be one of Thomas/Porte/Froome winning the stage.