- Aug 31, 2014
Saturday, July 23rd • Stage info • Startlist • Roadbook • Rules • Weather: Start, Halfway, Finish
Starts at 13:00 - Live video from 13:00 - Finish at 17:00 (CEST) • Live ticker • Livestreams
Mountain passes & hills:
Km 21.0 - Col des Aravis (1 487 m) 6.7 kilometre-long climb at 7% - category 2
Km 45.5 - Col de la Colombière (1 618 m) 11.7 kilometre-long climb at 5.8% - category 1
Km 93.5 - Col de la Ramaz (1 619 m) 13.9 kilometre-long climb at 7.1% - category 1
Km 134.5 - Col de Joux Plane (1 691 m) 11.6 kilometre-long climb at 8.5% - category H
Current GC standings:CyclingQuotes.com said:In the past, the time triallists have always had the upper hand in the Tour de France. With the major climbs all being located far from the traditional finish in Paris, it was widely regarded as being impossible to have a big mountain stage on the penultimate day. To save the excitement for the final days, the organizers often had a time trial in either the final or the penultimate stage.
In 2009, a novelty was introduced when ASO made the brave decision of having a mountaintop finish on Mont Ventoux just one day before the end of the race, creating a logistical chaos by moving the entire Tour machine from one part of the country to the other in less than 24 hours. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 they went back to their traditional script before they again embraced the new idea in 2013 with a mountain stage finishing on the climb of Annecy/Semnoz on the penultimate day. In 2014, the time triallists again had the advantage of having a TT as the decisive stage but in a race dominated by climbing, it was only fitting that the 2015 edition of the race was decided with a short, intense stage to the top of the famous Alpe d’Huez climb.
This year the organizers have again embraced the idea of having a short mountain stage just 24 hours before the big finale in Paris but unlike last year, there will be no summit finish. That doesn’t mean that the stage will be less exciting as it will see the riders return to the famous finish with the steep Col de Joux Plane and the difficult descent to Morzine. It’s a real Tour de France classic that has created lots of drama in the past and will make sure that nothing is decided until only the final parade remains.
The short 146.5km stage will start in Megève which will welcome the Tour for the third day in a row, and finish in the ski destination of Morzine. Unlike in the previous stage, there’s a chance to warm up the legs as the riders will first follow the flat river road for 15 kilometres before they will turn into the mountains to go up the category climb of Col des Aravis (6.7km, 7%). The descent then leads to the well-known Alpine city of Le Grand-Bornand where the slightly uphill intermediate sprint will be contested just one kiloemtres after the end of the downhill section.
It is now time for one of the Tour de France classics as the riders will go up the category 1 climb of Col de la Colombiere (11.7km, 5.8%) which makes welcome return after several years of absence. The long descent leads to the Arve River where the riders will continue in a northerly direction along flat roads.
The climbing will start again at the bottom of the category 1 climb of Col de la Ramaz (13.9km, 7.1%) which is a relatively regular climb with just to relatively flat sections along the way, one near the bottom and one 3km from the top which is located 53km from the finish. Having turned around,t the riders will take on the technical descent that leads to the city of Taninges in the valley where they will follow flat roads for 12.5 kilometres until they will get to Samoëns.
This is where the final battle for the Tour de France win will start when the riders hit the HC category climb of Col de Joux Plane (11.6km, 8.5%). It’s a brutal climb that leaves no room to recover and only gets steeper and steeper. In the second half, the gap is constantly above 9% until it levels slightly out at 8% for the final 600m. The top comes 12km from the finish and is followed by three relatively flat kilometres. Then it is time for the difficult descent that leads almost straight to the finish. Only the final 1600m are flat and they even include numerous turns until the riders get to a winding road for the final 900. The finishing straight is 50m long and 5m wide.
The finish in Morzine is a bit of a classic but it has not been used since 2006 when Floyd Landis did his amazing comeback by attacking almost from the gun before soloing to victory after having gone up the Col du Joux Plane in the finale. Carlos Sastre was the best of the rest, putting 16 seconds into Christophe Moreau and is now the official winner of the stage. In the GC battle, Andreas Klöden and Oscar Pereiro gained 16 seconds on their main rivals. In 2003, Richard Virenque rode to a solo win here while Lance Armstrong had one of his rare off-days here in 2000, losing 1.37 to Jan Ullrich on a day when Richard Virenque took another solo win.
It’s the stage that will decide the race so there is no reason to hold anything back. The stage may not have a mountaintop finish but don’t be fooled. History shows that Col du Joux Plane and the difficult descent can do real damage so everything can be changed right until the end. The climb itself can make a big difference but the group of favourites usually splits on the descent too. If a good descender can get a gap over the top, it’s a good chance to increase the advantage and huge risks will be taken if the overall victory or podium spots are still up for grabs. Usually, the final mountain stage is for the GC riders but recently escapees have often had the upper hand. As this is not a mountaintop finish, a breakaway will have an even bigger chance and unless the bonus seconds are important or an in-form GC contender is in search for a stage win, there is a very good chance that this short stage will be won by an attacker before the final winner of the race will be crowned in a huge battle on a legendary Tour climb.
The finish has also been used in the Criterium du Dauphiné. In 2012, a young Nairo Quintana who was not in GC contention, escaped the Sky stranglehold on the Col du Joux Plane and did an amazing descent to take his first WorldTour win. Cadel Evans attacked on the descent but could only gain 8 seconds on the Sky block of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Michael Rogers and Richie Porte. In 2008, Yury Trofimov proved his potential with a solo win here while Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans used the descent and climb to gain time on their rivals. In 2003, Iban Mayo beat Lance Armstrong and Francisco Mancebo in a 3-rider sprint.
Abandons Stage 19:
DNF: DUMOULIN, Tom (Team Giant - Alpecin) - crash, broken radius bone
DNF: NAVARRO, Daniel (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) - crash
DENNIS (BMC) ARCHBOLD (BOA) BRESCHEL, LANGEVELD (CDT) BOŽIČ, NAVARRO (COF) CAVENDISH, RENSHAW (DDD) TULIK (DEN) LADAGNOUS, PINEAU, PINOT (FDJ) FRANK (IAM) MØRKØV, VAN DEN BROECK (KAT) DEBUSSCHERE (LTS) HERRADA, G. IZAGIRRE (MOV) GERRANS (OBE) DUMOULIN (TGA) CONTADOR (TNK) CANCELLARA, THEUNS (TFS)
175 of 198 riders remain in the race.
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