Tour de France 2019 stage 18: Embrun > Valloire 208 km

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Gigs_98 said:
I kinda fear absolutely nothing will happen unless a gc contender cracks. With two mountain top finishes left and really small time gaps nobody has to take any risks yet. Only hope might be movistar and landa. And possibly an attack by alaphilippe on the final descent.

On another note, Vincenzo Nibali ftw :cool:
I pretty much agree. It is hard to imagine what an attack from any of the top five on this stage would look like. Pinot and Bernal would have to realistically have to attack before the final climb (on steeper gradients) when there is little reward and a huge amount of risk. Buchman, Steven and Thomas aren't really capable or interested in attacking and will probably favour a vicious pace on the final climb to see if they can burn off the frenchmen.

I'm also struggling to see what lower placed GC rider might animate the race with an earlier attack. Landa surely cant have enough in the tank to do a second such attack.
Keram said:
They need to test Ala. He has 1:35 and it is only three stages left, although tough ones. It is to risky not to put pressure on Ala tomorrow.
I think a lot of them might be inclined to wait until the Iseran the next day, rather than put all cards on the table today.

A lot simply depends on breakaway composition and what happens if Landa attacks. I could see a scenario where either both Ineos and Jumbo simply chase in the valley, or a scenario where everyone reacts if Alaphilippe gets in difficulty due to an attack.
Re: Re:

Leinster said:
Red Rick said:
Looks like headwind on the Galibier.

If nothing happens on the Izoard it's gonna be incredibly disappointing and it's basically maybe a few km on the Galibier. Izoard is legit the hardest climb left in this race. Let's hope for Landa.

I can see teams trying to drop Alaphilippe on the Izoard just by riding pace.
Headwind is worrying. In 2015 there was a headwind on Plateau de Beille, so a stage that was supposed to be one of the hardest in the Tour ended up with all the GC riders going under the kite together.
Nope. Mostly tailwind. After Lautaret crosswinds. But both quite weak.
I'm expecting Movistar to dictate the stage. They will want chaos, to break Alaphilippe as soon as possible, and to create opportunity for Landa to strike hard. A lot will depend on Valverde, and how he feels because of altitude. If he's ok i think he will try to escape on Izoard trying to put the pressure on others and preparing Landa's attack on Galibier. They will need to be very strong, but I think they will try.
As is so often the case on web forums (by no means only this one), the majority of comments regarding tomorrow tend towards the extremes: "nothing will happen, they will wait for x" vs. "it will be chaos." Most of life does not happen at the extreme ends of a spectrum of possibilities, and this probably won't be either. But I think there is some nice anticipation building up for this stage, and that's fun to have regardless of how it turns out (i.e., it's not just the final results that make things exciting or worthwhile).

For one thing, we've had to wait 3 days since the fireworks in the Pyrenees last week, and a surprise character has emerged to be one of the protagonists, so it's like waiting for a new season of a series after the last episode of the previous season left us in suspense.

And for those in the "nothing will happen" camp, I too see that this stage isn't as hard as the coming ones, and know that riders/DS's will be worried about risking too much because of the next two days. But that assumes all the contenders ride to their ability. What if, for instance, Thomas has another "weak" day on the penultimate climb and falls off the back? Do you really think Pinot or the others are going to wait for him? So there are many dynamics at work . . . enough for me to set the alarm for 5:30 to get up and watch!
If there's headwind, and if Landa (really the only guy who I could see move on Izoard) doesnt attack, it can be a relatively boring stage. But for some reason I dont think it will. Its stage 18, its hot, its long and its at altitude. Something will happen.

Either way, its a good stage for wearing the riders down.
Rain on the Galibier in the afternoon is approaching near-certain probability in weather forecasts - there may be tricky elements of slick roads, wind, and fog at altitude. But probably just an ordinary thunderstorm, not a downpour like Pantani 1998