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Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 17: Muret – Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet, 178.4 km

Stage 17: Muret – Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet, 178.4 km
The hardest MTF of the race comes late, on stage 17. It’s hardly the best route for long-range attacks, but there should still be real gaps here.

Map and profile


Route details
Nothing of note until well past the halfway mark of the stage, when the intermediate sprint is reached.


Those are just about the final flat meters of the stage, with Col de Peyresourde as the first part in a triptych of mountains. No Formula One gimmicks today, fortunately (it wouldn’t be as funny a second time!).


This is followed by the easiest climb of the day, Col d’Azet with its technical descent into Saint-Lary.


This descent backs directly into Col du Portet. The hardest Pyrenees MTF ASO has ever used (and possibly outright), we should probably get used to seeing it every few years. For now, it’s relatively fresh, and obviously a beast of a climb.


Final kilometers
Another cold stage tomorrow. Pogacar to attack on Peyresourde smashing last year's record and increase his advantage on Louron-Azet. In last kilometers of Portet he will pretend to be tired to look more human (losing a minute of his 7 minute advantage). His quote from the finish line: "I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to follow fierce accelerations of my rivals so I decided to climb with my own tempo".
This is the toughest climb of this Tour, even slightly tougher than the Ventoux. Quintana won here the first time in a short stage, but that success will be hard to repeat.

It would be nice if for once the winner did not come from the breakaway. Pogacar could put the icing on the cake by winning one of the two remaining MTFs. He will probably have to rely on Ineos to keep the break in check. If they reach the foot within five to seven minutes of the leading group, depending on who's in front, the GC riders might still ride for the win. Crossing that line in yellow or white would give good images for the year overview.
Can't see anyone other than Pogacar winning this and I think he will do it without actually attacking - he will just ride away on pure strength.

Carapaz finally put in his place. He can't waste energy on pop gun attacks on this course and that monster final climb. I'd like to see Uran do well he is looking good.
By "winning" I'm assuming you mean first amongst GC contenders? Because if you think the break has no chance to take this, you may be in for a disappointment.
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I think Pog wants a mountain stage win and this is the best opportunity for it. He said in an interview that week 2 was about defending the jersey and week 3 he’ll be more aggressive. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him attack right away on Peyresourde and surf whatever riders are ahead from the break or can go with him at first on the descents, then finish the job on the final climb.
By "winning" I'm assuming you mean first amongst GC contenders? Because if you think the break has no chance to take this, you may be in for a disappointment.
I hope I'm not disappointed but yes I fear you are right. With such big lead Uran and Carapaz can't conceivably close the gap with an attack. Maybe Ineos is planning something as I note Porte finished in grupetto today so maybe they are saving their energy but I doubt it.