Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienn - La Toussuire-Les Sybelle

Tour de France Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienn - La Toussuire-Les Sybelles, 138 km

This stage has 61km of climbing, more than any other stage in this Tour. That means that nearly half this stage is climbing, with 4106m gained vertically. La Toussuire is 18km, the longest summit of this year’s Tour! Having descended the Glandon yesterday, the riders will be ascending the exact same road before turning near the top and riding to the top of Croix de Fer which is 3k later. Like Motvernier yesterday, Mollard is a beautiful climb with hairpins on the descent.

With Quintana having failed to take time out of Froome at all this Tour, and being renowned for his strong last week of Grand Tours (2014 Giro and 2013 Tour) we expect a big attack from him. Will he wait for La Toussuire or have a go from further out on the Croix de Fer or Mollard, like Schleck of 2011? Purito or Bardet can both gain a lot of mountain points over Froome, despite the double mountain points for victory upon La Toussuire, which is a Cat 1 climb, compared to the HC of Croix de Fer.

Robert Millar has labelled the descent of Croix de Fer as ‘dodgy,’ the mountain will be ascended again as it will replace the Galibier due to landslides on tomorrows stage. Both this stage and tomorrows are short though, and the riders won’t try to hold anything back with 3 minutes to make on Froome and only 110km on tomorrows fearsome stage to Alpe d’Huez.

Christian Prudhomme:
"On a tightened format, attacking can occur at any time. Especially when the course offers climbs up to the Col du Chaussy, a newcomer on the Tour de France, the Col de la Croix de Fer followed by the Col du Mollard before the final climb up to La Toussuire - Les Sybelles!"

La Toussiere was last ascended in the 2012 Tour de France, where the then new French hopefuls Pierre Rolland and 22-year-old Tibaut Pinot, the youngest rider in the 2012 race, took 1st and 2nd on the summit. With both rider's having a relatively poor Tour so far and looking active over the last 2 stages in the Alps, the French will hope for something to cheer for other than relying on stage wins from AG2R.

Finishing times: Caravan: 16h04, 34 km/h: 17h27 32km/h: 17h45 30km/h:18h04

Km 15.5 - Col du Chaussy (1 533 m) (D77-VC)15.4 kilometre-long climb at 6.3% - category 1
Km 83.0 - Col de la Croix de Fer (2 067 m)22.4 kilometre-long climb at 6.9% - category HC
Km 103.0 - Col du Mollard (1 638 m)5.7 kilometre-long climb at 6.8% - category 2
Km 138.0 - LA TOUSSUIRE (1 705 m)18 kilometre-long climb at 6.1% - category 1


or thunderstorms?

General classification after stage 18
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 74:13:31
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:09
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:06:34
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:06:40
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:07:39
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:08:04
8 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:08:47
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:12:06
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:13:02

Mountain classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 68 pts
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 68
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 64
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 61

Maximum points on today’s stage – 10 + 25 +5 + 20 at the finish = 60

This mountain was first ridden in 1947 (as yesterdays Col du Glandon!), but this time it wasn’t a Pole being the first to climb cross the top. It was the Italian Fermo Camellini, a former Paris-Nice and Fleche Wallone winner, and actually went on to win the stage featuring the climb (and lead the KOM competition), being the first of his two stage wins in the 1947 Tour. The greatness of this climb is not to be underestimated, as the Italian cycling giants Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi were the first to cross the top of the Pass of the Iron Cross (the English name) in 1948 and 1952 respectively. Both won the stages featuring Col de la Croix de Fer in their respective years AND the Tour. As someone being too young to have witnessed Coppi and Bartali (and probably not the only one), their palmares is impressive, Coppi winning two Tours (and taking the KOM in these wins) and 9 stages, 4 Giros in 7 years, WC in 1953, Milano-San Remo 3 times, Paris Roubaix once, and I could go on about him and his victories (check him out if you don’t know him). His rival Bartali had also won the Tour twice (and taken the KOM twice too as Coppi did), 12 stage wins, 3 Giros, 7 Giro KOMs and 17 Giro stages along the way, Romandie, Suisse and Pais Vasco wins, 4 Milano-San Remos, and I could go on the rest of the day, but go check him out too along with Coppi, as they had an incredible rivalry. In the 1949 WC they climbed off rather than helping the other to victory! Imagine if that happened today!

Other notable riders to cross the Col de la Croix de Fer are Spanish Federico Bahamontes, French 5-times Tour winner Bernard Hinault French 7-time KOM winner Richard Virenque, and 2 times KOM winner and (mutant ‘cause of.. ;) ) climber Michael “the Chicken” Rasmussen.
Last time the climb featured was in 2012, when Frederik Kessiakoff climbed over it first.

La Toussuire - Les Sybelles has been ridden two times in the Tour, in 2006 with Michael "The Chicken" Rasmussen as stage winner crossing the finish, 1'41 before Carlos Sastre and maillot jaune Oscar Pereiro, with American Floyd Landis dropping many minutes, only to recover it next day in a breakaway, but was still 30 seconds from yellow. We all know what caused that miraculous recovery..
Anyone wants to me to add anything, post it below please
May 24, 2015
The first climb right after the start can be absolute murder if they really want to race. Very interesting stage, too bad the GC riders are not playing ball.
Contador ftw.
This is Pinots last chance (from a break) as I see it, IMO he shouldn't have gone today..hoping to see Contador doing something as well, but wouldn't be surprised, if he waited until Alpe d'Huez stage, hopefully with good legs
Re: Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienn - La Toussuire-Les Sybe

Perfect stage for some good action. Over 4000 meters of climbing packed in 138 kilometers. Croix de Fer is probably most difficult climb of this year's race and La Tousuirre is also very hard after previous climbs. If Quintana and Valverde can't hurt Froome tomorrow the race will be almost over. But I hope they can!
Aug 31, 2012
Froome to lose 17 seconds to Quintana, choosing to follow Thomas all the way.

The next day he'll win Alpe d'huez but despite reaching the finish line alone and quite fresh, it won't be a top 10 all time ride because it was a different era back then.
Jul 18, 2014
Club ride until the last climb. Quintana will attack but Sky will be well rested and counter every attack. Another boring day.