Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 16: Pas de la Case – Saint-Gaudens, 169.0 km

Stage 16: Pas de la Case – Saint-Gaudens, 169.0 km
Pescheux special time. Prudhomme has the grace not to call it a Pyrenees stage, because this is a clear breakaway day, in spite of a tricky finale.

Map and profile




Route details
The neutralisation starts by re-entering France, then once the hairpins are negotiated, the stage can actually begin. The descent into Ax-les-Thermes is at a gradient of 3-5%, setting up a fast start of the stage. Considering the profile, it may take the Col de Port, the summit of which comes after a third of the stage, to form the definitive breakaway.



The descent is constantly sinuous, but largely hairpin-free. A section of valley leads into the intermediate sprint, once again at the foot of the next climb, the Col de la Core.





After a similar descent to the previous one, the last Pyrenean climb, Col de Portet-d’Aspet of the day starts.



The descent is notoriously technical. The final 10 kilometers of the stage are rolling, with two climbs: the categorised Côte d’Aspret-Sarrat, with a peak that comfortably reaches double-digit gradients based on Streetview, and the kick to the finish line (see below).

Final kilometers
The one time they bypass most of the finish town is a stage that likely won’t even be a sprint!



 
Thanks for starting the thread!

Will be a huge battle for the break. Probably the last breakaway stage on the Tour.

I like Higuita. Stage profile is similar to the Vuelta stage he won in 2019 and his form is strong. Could win solo or from a small group sprint.
 
If you're 5 minutes behind the Yellow jersey, the easy part for this stage is to send 1 or 2 guys up the road in the break.

The next, less easy part, is to drop all the UAE doms over the Col de la Core.

The final, really hard, part, is to get a gap on Pogacar on the Porte d'Aspet, and link up with your guys from the break and put time into the other contenders.

The follow-on, really really hard part, is to save enough energy doing all this to follow Pogacar on Portet and Luz Ardiden the next 2 days.


Break, lots of KOM sprinting, no GC action.
 
A classical break stage. Given the state of the race I would expect INEOS to give Mike Flowers a day pass to go into the break as their best bet for a stage win (but they might go for the unexpected "set up Richie C. for a surprise attack on the final climb").

There are no more uphill starts (good for Cav). Since this start is downhill and after a rest day, I think a strong break will form on the first climb with most of the usual suspects. Looks ideal for Ala (odds on to try) and van Aert (depends on the team's goals), but look out for Fraile to try and save Astana's tour.
 
A classical break stage. Given the state of the race I would expect INEOS to give Mike Flowers a day pass to go into the break as their best bet for a stage win (but they might go for the unexpected "set up Richie C. for a surprise attack on the final climb").

There are no more uphill starts (good for Cav). Since this start is downhill and after a rest day, I think a strong break will form on the first climb with most of the usual suspects. Looks ideal for Ala (odds on to try) and van Aert (depends on the team's goals), but look out for Fraile to try and save Astana's tour.
Fraile will be stewing after Stage 14. I 'wasn't sure why he didn't follow Mollema until I went back and looked and saw that the winning move came right at the moment he went back to the car for a bottle. I do worry for him, however, that these climbs will be right at his limit, particularly with the quality of climbers you would expect to be in the break.
 
Reactions: Tank Engine
Would be immensely surprised if this didn’t go to a 20+ breakaway group with all the KOM contenders in it (Woods might find it a struggle with the descent start) then some GC action on the Portet d’aspet but nothing major with the yellow jersey group rolling in 10-12 minutes after the stage winner.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
It's the day after a rest day and the course has multiple legit climbs. We have multiple riders in realistic contention for a podium. With all that said I expect there to be some shake-up in GC, most likely a rider just has bad legs and is distanced on the climbs. I expect the big 3 (Pog, Carapaz and Uran) to roll in together.

As for the stage win, I'll put my money on JA.
 
Reactions: Sciatic
Fraile will be stewing after Stage 14. I 'wasn't sure why he didn't follow Mollema until I went back and looked and saw that the winning move came right at the moment he went back to the car for a bottle. I do worry for him, however, that these climbs will be right at his limit, particularly with the quality of climbers you would expect to be in the break.
True, but several of the best climbers who will be given a leash (and van Aert if he's there) will looking for mountain points. Ala's batteries will be running low from impersonating a duracell bunny, so I think the all rounders who are strictly concentrating on winning the stage are in with a shout. The finish definitely suits Fraile (if he gets over the final big climb near the front).
 
Reactions: Hugo Koblet
Van Aert comes back to the break on the last descent to win again.

Woods takes polka dot back again.

Guillaume Martin in the break again, moves up to 2nd on GC again, no-one chases like they mean it again, the French press lose their minds over Martin being on the podium again, Martin loses all his gains the day after, again.
 
Van Aert comes back to the break on the last descent to win again.

Woods takes polka dot back again.

Guillaume Martin in the break again, moves up to 2nd on GC again, no-one chases like they mean it again, the French press lose their minds over Martin being on the podium again, Martin loses all his gains the day after, again.
Phil Ligget proclaims “it’s like deja vu all over again, again.”
 

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