Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 15: Céret – Andorre-la-Vieille, 191.3 km

Stage 15: Céret – Andorre-la-Vieille, 191.3 km
A fairly lacklustre mountain stage with lots of low-gradient climbing before a tricky finale over Beixalis. The good news is that it isn’t Arcalis.

Map and profile




Route details
The start is somewhat uphill, starting with Col de Llauro…



…from where the road keeps climbing as far as Col du Fourtou, via the final 12 kilometers of the profile below. Both the climb and the descent are somewhat narrow.



The route then heads up the Têt valley. Right before the false flat steepens, the riders pass through the intermediate sprint of the day.



The first categorised climb of the day is Montée de Mont-Louis. The road keeps rising past the village, the entirety is displayed below. Like every remaining climb bar Beixalis, it’s wide and straightforward.



The next two climbs are Col de Puymorens and Port d’Envalira, the latter of which is partly on Andorran soil and the highest point of this year’s edition. The roads are highway-like at times, with only the Andorran section of Envalira at a decent gradient.



This means that the peloton should still be quite large at the foot of Beixalis, making it more difficult to separate the non-Pogacar GC riders from each other, and therefore further increasing the chances of the breakaway.



The descent is decently technical until 5.6 kilometers to go, then it’s wide and straight before flattening out in the final 2.5 kilometers.

Final kilometers


 
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The 1st 30 minutes of the stage look likely to be the most exciting then a break will go and the yellow jersey group will be soft-pedalling until the final climb where a couple of minor top 10 guys may slide down the rankings but nothing major.
 
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I just don't get this design. They clearly wanted to go for a proper high mountain stage here and they have very clearly failed at that. Beixalis is fine but it's a little like when they made a "big pyrenees stage" in the 2018 where the focal point was the Col du Portillon. At least that stage didn't come before a restday...

I just don't understand why they don't get a little creative. What's wrong with the Collada de Gallina or even La Rabassa. You could put those climbs in and still finish with an ascent of the Beixalis if they so desperately want.
 
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I just don't get this design. They clearly wanted to go for a proper high mountain stage here and they have very clearly failed at that.
I'm just assuming they don't want big mountain stage action they just want to appease the sort of fans that don't have any clue all climbs before Beixalis are weak stuff.

I think casuals will look at this profile and see a big mountain stage.
 
Beixalis should cause some GC action, it's steep and intense. As for Envalira...well Carapaz says altitude matters so maybe he will try some crazy attack? The climb is rather shallow so a strong team can neutralize any attack there. Good news for Pogi: it's probably the last hot day at this Tour (high altitude will partially reduce it but the airmass is right from hell).
 
Like someone in a podcast from my country said about the stage, "You wouldn't be able make a worse stage around Andorra even if you try hard".

Having said that, this is the perfect stage for far away attacks because of the easiness of the gradients the amplitude of the highways and the altitude. So if you have a strong team, better put it to use. I see Carapaz only on that department. Maybe Lutsenko also. But Vingegard will try to keep his high placing just like Uran.
 
Beixalis should cause some GC action, it's steep and intense. As for Envalira...well Carapaz says altitude matters so maybe he will try some crazy attack? The climb is rather shallow so a strong team can neutralize any attack there. Good news for Pogi: it's probably the last hot day at this Tour (high altitude will partially reduce it but the airmass is right from hell).
Altitude matters. But Envalira is still a glorified false flat at 2400m. Remember the last MTF to Sierra Nevada in the Vuelta?

Also, headwind predicted on Envalira.
 
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Altitude matters. But Envalira is still a glorified false flat at 2400m. Remember the last MTF to Sierra Nevada in the Vuelta?

Also, headwind predicted on Envalira.
You can attack on the last 3-4km of Envalira. If you have teammates ahead that you're catching in that area and going over the top, you could do something. Too far on a solo as the peloton will still be too big by that point so need some teammates up the road.
 
I'm just assuming they don't want big mountain stage action they just want to appease the sort of fans that don't have any clue all climbs before Beixalis are weak stuff.

I think casuals will look at this profile and see a big mountain stage.
Indeed. They want Portet to be decisive, it seems.

Beixalis is the only GC-relevant climb in between stages 11 (Ventoux) and 17 (Portet).
 
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