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2016 TdF, Stage 15: Bourg-en-Bresse → Culoz (160km)

Aug 31, 2014
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Stage 15: Bourg-en-Bresse → Culoz (160 km, Mountain)

Sunday, July 17thStage infoStartlistRoadbookRules • Weather: Start, Halfway, Finish
Starts at 13:05 - Live video from 13:00 - Finish at 17:35 (CEST) • Live tickerLivestreams




Mountain passes & hills:
Km 23.0 - Col du Berthiand (780 m) 6 kilometre-long climb at 8.1% - category 1
Km 52.0 - Col du Sappel (794 m) 8.8 kilometre-long climb at 5.6% - category 2
Km 63.5 - Col de Pisseloup 4.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.8% - category 3
Km 79.0 - Col de la Rochette 5.1 kilometre-long climb at 5.4% - category 3
Km 113.0 - Grand Colombier (1 501 m) 12.8 kilometre-long climb at 6.8% - category H
Km 146.0 - Lacets du Grand Colombier (891 m) (D120-D120 A) 8.4 kilometre-long climb at 7.6% - category 1




Final Kilometres:


CyclingQuotes.com said:
There was just one chance to recover for the GC riders as they head into their next climbing test on stage 15. The short, intense stage 15 takes place on the outskirts of the Alps and is not a big mountain stage where big time differences can be expected but it’s a day when everything can be lost. The famous Grand Colombier will make its second appearance in the race four years after its debut and will be followed by a tough finishing circuit that includes the shorter, steeper Lacets du Grand Colombier. Unlike the Giro and Vuelta which often have circuits in the finale, the Tour de France usually have point-to-point stages so the first test in the Alps is a bit of a novelty in the biggest race in the world and it will give the first indication of who’s on an up- or downward trends as we head into the decisive part of the race. [Col du Grand Colombier is in the Jura Mountains, not the Alps. ed.]

The short 160km stage will bring the riders from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz and barely has a single metre of flat roads. All day the riders will be travelling in a southeasterly direction through some of the hardest terrain France can offer. After a lumpy start, they will face the first challenge, the category 1 Col du Berthiand (6km, 8.1%), whose summit comes at the 23km mark. Then an undulating section leads to the double climb of the category2 Col du Sappel (8.8km, 5.6%) and the category 3 Col de Pisseloup (4.9km, 5.8%) which come in quick succession with only a very short in between. Again there is barely any descent after the latter ascent and only a short piece of flat roads will bring the riders to the category 3 Col de la Rochette (5.1km, 5.4%). Along the way, they will contest the slightly uphill intermediate sprint after 71.5km of racing.

After the Col de la Rochette, there’s finally a longer descent and then an uncategorized climb and another descent will bring the riders to the bottom of the main climb of the day. The category HC Grand Colombier averages 6.8% over 12.8km and is pretty irregular. There’s an almost flat section in the middle part and then the climb gets steeper in the final 6km which only have one small chance to recover.

The top comes with 47km to go and is followed by the longest descent of the day and a short flat section that leads to the finish. Here the riders will take on the 23.5km finishing circuit which can be split into three: a short, flat section, the category 1 climb of Lacets du Grand Colombier and its descent and 8.5 flat kilometres along the Rhone River. The climb averages 7.8% over 8.4% and is pretty steep as it has three kilometres at a gradient of more than 9%. It levels out near the top where the final kilometre only everages 2.9%. The final 5km of the stage are straight and almost completely flat, with just a very light bend 250m from the line. The finishing straight is a 6m wide road.

Lacets du Grand Colombier is definitely hard enough to make a difference between the best riders but as it is followed by a relatively long, flat section, it will be hard to maintain the gaps for a lone rider. As there are still lots of mountains to come, the GC riders will probably take it relatively easy and only make some small tests on the final climb to check whether one or more of their rivals have a bad day. Hence, it’s a stage where a lot can be lost and not a lot can be won. At the same time, the victory is almost destined to be taken by a long-distance breakaway. This means that it should be a very fast and brutal start and so the stage will be very hard and play a big role in accumulating the fatigue that will decided the race in the final week.

Culoz has not hosted a stage finish at the Tour for more than a decade but it has welcomed the Tour de l’Ain which had a summit finish on the Grand Colombier for several years. Rein Taaramae was the last rider to win here in 2009 after John Gadret had won in 2007. Carl Naibo was the best in 2005 while there was a sprint stage in the city in 2003 when Max Van Heeswijk came out on top. Marek Rutkiewicz won on the climb in 2002. Grand Colombier was first used by the Tour in 2012 when Thomas Voeckler won the stage that included the climb in the finale.

Current GC standings:

Withdrawals Stage 14:
DNF: FRANK, Mathias (IAM Cycling) - gastro-enteritis
DNF: BRESCHEL, Matti (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) - crash

All Withdrawals:
185 of 198 riders remain in the race.

← Stage 14 ThreadStage 16 Thread →
Jul 29, 2012
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Best designed stage of this tour.

And luckily we've quintana and mollemma for the attack. They'll risk it all here.

Sarcasm doesn't ease the pain :(
as to date the race clearly has wrong dynamics. Had Quintana dropped Froome on Ventoux, Sky would've been tried to isolate Nairo and catapult Froome for another attack on descent. Intead of this I fear we'll see a typical breakaway win with all the big contenders finishing together.
Jul 13, 2016
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Thank you Praying Mantis for your brilliant OP's and for posting them so promptly after each stage :)

I think Nibali will be in the break and can possibly take the win as no one will chase a large group of strong climbers, would love to know which Sky super dom will get into the break (should they wisely send someone up the road?).

Hopefully De Gent can get into the break to get some kom points....
The first glimpse of hope...
It's time for Movi to utilize their team. At least they should try to get a feedback before final week.
Higher altitudes and longer ascents would have been better for Quintana, though, but they can't go to rest day not knowing what Sky train can handle.
The stage looks well on paper but it's actually horribly designed. There is a way harder approach to the Colombiere from the west but instead of using it they use this wannabe HC climb. Then they decided to make a stage finish in a small town like Culoz which makes sense because the Colombiere descent leads directly into the town but NO the aso instead descends a different side of the pass then they ride on a flat road to Culoz so they can use the side of the pass which would have been perfect as a descent as the climb, then descend the same side again and then have another flat section at the end. I generally find this extra loop stupid but at least they could have rode it the other way around.

Edit: And because of the flat I think nothing gc relevant will happen and the break will win. I'm hoping for Nibali.
Mar 31, 2010
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Miburo said:
Best designed stage of this tour.

And luckily we've quintana and mollemma for the attack. They'll risk it all here.

Sarcasm doesn't ease the pain :(
haha if you think mollema will risk anything here.
Aug 6, 2015
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Re: Re:

Ryo Hazuki said:
Miburo said:
Best designed stage of this tour.

And luckily we've quintana and mollemma for the attack. They'll risk it all here.

Sarcasm doesn't ease the pain :(
haha if you think mollema will risk anything here.
And will quintana attack? Hum...
I think porte will crack completely
Jun 13, 2016
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Who here thinks that Peter will go to get those sprint points? Or will he save himself for monday, and then try to get some points after the rest day?