Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 18: Pau – Luz Ardiden, 129.7 km

One last opportunity for Carapaz to try for second place, and of course a big day for the lower GC places starting with the battle for fourth.
Stage 18: Pau – Luz Ardiden, 129.7 km
Short mountain stage with a flat first half, not one of ASO’s better designs. At least the Tourmalet-Luz Ardiden combination is nice, and unseen for a decade.

Map and profile




Route details
The start of the stage is hilly, featuring the first categorised climb of the day in Côte de Notre-Dame de Piétat.



This is followed by a long flat section through Lourdes into the Côte de Loucrup. They do the profile below in full, but with the GPM at the end of the hard section.



After the descent, there’s a long false flat up the Adour valley to the foot of the Tourmalet, with the intermediate sprint early on.



The Tourmalet really needs no description, oft-used as it is. If anyone wants to go long, this is the place, but the run-in and race situation make it a big ask.



The final climb to Luz Ardiden starts almost immediately after the descent, let’s hope it’s not raced as passively as in 2011.



Final kilometers
 
Think ASO should adjust the rule of double points for mountain top finishes..
Otherwise in the future we will often see that 3 of the 4 jerseys will be owned by one guy. And the fight for the mountain jersey between a few aggressive non-GC riders is really one nice thing that I don´t want to miss..

Due to the fact that the age of the riders is getting younger and younger, one could also consider adjusting the age for the white jersey one day...
 
I think Ineos will try after seeing Carapaz today, and Movistar has to do something as well - maybe it will just be in the break with Lopez/Valverde though. But I think Ineos will take control
INEOS can try, but not with Carapaz. Slim chances for him to get clear.
The breakaway's the best chance for everybody looking for redemption.
 
Whatever Carapaz takes on this day he loses on Saturday's ITT anyway.

Geoghegan Hart accompanied by Porte & Castroviejo from the breakaway.

Otherwise I see the big battle for polka dots with Quintana, Poels & Woods all wanting to take those 60 points to secure the jersey. Maybe even WvA with those steady gradients.

Would be surprised if this goes to the favorites. Pogacar has got his mtf victory after today. Jumbo ain't got the number to reel back in a strong breakaway. Carapaz is too weak to win from the favorites apparently.

Ineos might chase nevertheless. In that case Vingegaard takes victory, because Pogacar allows him to.

After today's move obviously Pogacar & Carapaz ain't got their hay on the same stage anymore as Leclercq would say!
 
Hoping for a Pogacar win so that he takes the Polkadot again and they start reconsidering the logic of this competition (same for the white jersey).
What would you change? I'd say if Pogacar takes it tomorrow he thoroughly deserves. Maybe he deserves it anyway.

Commonly the complaints about the polka dot jersey was that it was won by fairly random riders who are good at using breakaways in opportunistic ways but aren't genuinely great climbers.
 
What would you change? I'd say if Pogacar takes it tomorrow he thoroughly deserves. Maybe he deserves it anyway.

Commonly the complaints about the polka dot jersey was that it was won by fairly random riders who are good at using breakaways in opportunistic ways but aren't genuinely great climbers.
Not sure I"m a big fan of it being won by the GC winner who doesn't actually care about it either.
 
What would you change? I'd say if Pogacar takes it tomorrow he thoroughly deserves. Maybe he deserves it anyway.

Commonly the complaints about the polka dot jersey was that it was won by fairly random riders who are good at using breakaways in opportunistic ways but aren't genuinely great climbers.
Pogacar is by far the best climber so him winning it would definitely do it justice by name but the whole winning it by default makes it a bit pointless I feel.
I'd actually prefer to change it to a "best breakaway rider jersey" with various spots in stages (flat as well as mountain passes) giving points but not at the end of a stage. That way you'd have similar entertaining battles that we have seen this year that won't be undone by massive point flips at the end.
The other option (but that would open up a whole already done to death discussion) would be to change the design of the tour radically and add way more TT kilometers (or even give big bonus seconds for sprints). Because right now the best GC guy is always the best climber as well and its been like that since...Indurain(?) (Wiggins probably the exception) which I always felt made the polkadot slightly worthless.
 
Pogacar is by far the best climber so him winning it would definitely do it justice by name but the whole winning it by default makes it a bit pointless I feel.
I'd actually prefer to change it to a "best breakaway rider jersey" with various spots in stages (flat as well as mountain passes) giving points but not at the end of a stage. That way you'd have similar entertaining battles that we have seen this year that won't be undone by massive point flips at the end.
The other option (but that would open up a whole already done to death discussion) would be to change the design of the tour radically and add way more TT kilometers (or even give big bonus seconds for sprints). Because right now the best GC guy is always the best climber as well and its been like that since...Indurain(?) (Wiggins probably the exception) which I always felt made the polkadot slightly worthless.
just scrap the doublepoints then it would have been a more exciting competition
 
Think ASO should adjust the rule of double points for mountain top finishes..
Otherwise in the future we will often see that 3 of the 4 jerseys will be owned by one guy. And the fight for the mountain jersey between a few aggressive non-GC riders is really one nice thing that I don´t want to miss..

Due to the fact that the age of the riders is getting younger and younger, one could also consider adjusting the age for the white jersey one day...
What makes it worse IMO is that HC is worth of double to 1st category.

I think something like this would be good
HC 20 - points for 10
1st 15 - 8
2nd 10 - 6
3rd 5 - 4
4th 3 - 3

For winners it was close to the years in late 2000s/early 2010s but back then there were quite good points available at the end of the points like 8th cat 1 being better than winning cat 3.
 
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Not sure I"m a big fan of it being won by the GC winner who doesn't actually care about it either.
But he would be the literal "king of the mountains" if he wins tomorrow as the only one winning on a MTF and one besides WVA to win a mountain stage.

Maybe instead of double points are increased by 1.5 at the end, or keep the same points for everyone no matter the position of the climb. Or have double points still and then half way up a Cat 2, 1, and HC there is another KOM point worth half the amount of points and half the placements that are available for points.
 

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