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La Route d'Occitanie 2019 (2.1, 20.06 - 23.06)

One of my favourite of the smaller stage races. It always provides some good racing through the Pyrenees with beautiful views as a nice addition. In recent memory we for example have the 2017 vintage edition when Silvan Dillier was in the break almost everyday and in the end managed to just hold off a certain Richard Carapaz for the GC.

Route
The 2019 race includes four stages of varied terrain in the south of France. The 1st and 3rd stage are likely going to decide the overall winner. While the first day covers some of the climbs of Massif Central with a double ascent of Côte d'Aubignac, the queen stage on saturday will include Tour classics like Port de Balès. Still, the other two days will provide some opportunities for interesting racing as well.

Stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3


Stage 4


Startlist
The lineup is lead by defending champion Alejandro Valverde who races for the first time since his disappointing Ardennes campaign. Sky fields three of their Giro climbers with Sivakov, Sosa and Dunbar. At least one of them should be able to compete for the overall. Rigoberto Urán uses the race as his final Tour preparation. Other strong climbers are Jesús Herrada, Óscar Rodríguez, Darwin Atapuma, Alexandre Geniez, Tony Gallopin, Joe Dombrowski and Elié Gesbert. Only top sprinter present is Arnaud Démare. Chris Lawless, Lorrenzo Manzin, Sasha Modolo and Moreno Hofland will try to trouble him.

https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/la-route-d-occitanie/2019/gc/startlist
 
Everybody is looking at Dauphine and Suisse to spot the next Tour winner, in the meantime here we have Duran Duran looking sharper than most. Not sure what the impact of Valverde will have on Movistar's Tour but he is back like he was never away really.
 
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Rollthedice said:
Everybody is looking at Dauphine and Suisse to spot the next Tour winner, in the meantime here we have Duran Duran looking sharper than most. Not sure what the impact of Valverde will have on Movistar's Tour but he is back like he was never away really.
Uran will have a strong team for the mountains, the ttt and the flat stages. Another podium is possible.
 
Re:

Rollthedice said:
Everybody is looking at Dauphine and Suisse to spot the next Tour winner, in the meantime here we have Duran Duran looking sharper than most. Not sure what the impact of Valverde will have on Movistar's Tour but he is back like he was never away really.
Today was perfect for Valverde, Port de Bales will be more indicative on his possible impact on the mountains but we should remember that at the pre race press conference in Mallorca at the beginning of the season he said that he considered done his time as GTs GC rider after last year Vuelta.
 
Jan 15, 2013
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Valv.Piti said:
Dunbar was great as well, massive respect!
Every step up he takes on the world stage makes those who raced against him in Irish A3 as adults and watched him ride away from them (while he was still a 16/17 year old Junior) feel that little bit less bad for themselves and that little more proud of him too.
 
happytramp said:
Dunbar is looking very promising.
I’m curious about where he will ride next year. He’s at Ineos and they have a pile of money. On the other hand, they also have all of the other superchildren, so some other team might try to lure him away with the offer of better opportunities. Presumably Ineos is the most likely though.
 
Zinoviev Letter said:
happytramp said:
Dunbar is looking very promising.
I’m curious about where he will ride next year. He’s at Ineos and they have a pile of money. On the other hand, they also have all of the other superchildren, so some other team might try to lure him away with the offer of better opportunities. Presumably Ineos is the most likely though.
I'm sure there's an equation to figure out when the benifits of staying with sky/ineos to progress as a rider being to be outweighed by missed oppertunities.

KM raced × the square route of quantifiable improvement ÷ time spent as part of the team leaders train.
 
Re: Re:

Mayomaniac said:
Rollthedice said:
Everybody is looking at Dauphine and Suisse to spot the next Tour winner, in the meantime here we have Duran Duran looking sharper than most. Not sure what the impact of Valverde will have on Movistar's Tour but he is back like he was never away really.
Uran will have a strong team for the mountains, the ttt and the flat stages. Another podium is possible.
Not sure about the mountains. Martinez will likely miss the Tour due to injury. That likely leaves him with just Van Garderen and Woods. Van Garderen had a decent Dauphine but he is still rather unreliable these days. Woods is a consistent rider so he should be decent but will he actually shine? I'm not sure if these French climbs suit him and TdF may be a bit too much for him as he wasn't even able to consistently climb with the best during the last 2 GTs he rode.
I guess they're not bringing Higuita yet and Dombrowski and Carthy will be too tired after riding both Giro and some races in June. The only possible climbing reinforcement is Kangert but EF rarely made riders ride Giro+Tour in the past few years.
 
Valverde looked like himself today. Definitely a classic, typical Valverde win. The second mountain stage will tell us more on how he's really going in the mountains, but today showed he's back to at least himself on the type of finishes that are well suited to him.
As he's talked about wanting to go stage hunting at the Tour, I don't think he's planning on racing it for GC. Plus he's said a few times that he's done chasing the Tour and last year he said that his time as a GT GC rider is basically over, however he did say something about wanting another shot at la Vuelta and has said IF the team requests it he'll continue to race GTs for GC and do what he can. I think it's time to turn him into a stage hunter at the Tour.
 

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