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Saint-Lary Pla d'Adet: to force the hand of destiny (4/5)

news01.07.2014Pre-race

© Presse Sports

In the run-up to 4th July, letour.fr will be analysing 5 key stages on the route of the 2014 edition. Of symbolic importance in the development of the race or perhaps decisive with regard to the final general individual classification, they possess the required characteristics for an exceptional sporting show. The shortest of the three Pyrenean stages, from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary-Soulan, can shake up the classification. Alberto Contador is likely to strike there.

THE TERRAIN

The best pieces aren't necessarily about quantity. Quality often prevails on the road of the Tour de France too. A short format of racing can shake up the classification more than long and grueling stages sometimes. The ascent to Pla d'Adet has turned the race upside down on several occasions. The most notable one was in 1974 when Raymond Poulidor put Eddy Merckx in difficulty. This time around, only 124 kilometers will be covered from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary-Soulan. But four hard climbs will string together, starting with the col de Portillon after 50 kilometers of racing. Towards the end of the Tour, freshness and motivation will prevail. In the final ten kilometers of climbing, many changes on GC can happen.

SPOTLIGHT ON… ALBERTO CONTADOR

The first part of the 2014 season has announced the possibility of a duel between Alberto Contador and Chris Froome. The recent Critérium du Dauphiné has increased the expectations for a long lasting suspense. Contador has evidenced that his condition is back to a high and his fighting spirit is unmodified. If needed, this is the stage for him to attack. The Spaniard was very enthusiastic when he went on to recce the mountain stages. “The Tour will be decided in the Pyrenees where the courses are very hard this year”, he declared after training in every climb scheduled for the 2014 Tour de France.
He pointed out stage 17 in particular. “It'll be a very fast stage and a very difficult one for a leader to control”, he said. “It leaves opportunities for tactical moves. Shall the race leader be in a bad day, it's going to be horrible for him.”

THEY WILL NOT BE FAR BEHIND

Fight is in the air. Whether or not it'll be for the yellow jersey or the other positions in the top ten overall, something should happen in Saint-Lary-Soulan. In the event of a duel between Contador and Froome, Vincenzo Nibali is often tipped as the third man and the most serious candidate for the last spot on the podium. Critérium du Dauphiné winner Andrew Talansky is another one, so are Tejay van Garderen, Alejandro Valverde, Jurgen Van den Broeck and world champion Rui Costa. Riders who would happen to have lost their ambitions on GC will be keen to go from far out and seek a stage victory. It can be the case of the French trio of climbers formed of Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet and Pierre Rolland. Top climbers like Joaquim Rodriguez, Bauke Mollema and the Schleck brothers might find themselves in that situation too.

The news in pictures

photo01/07/2014 

© Presse Sports

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Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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Who is the most likely to win stage 21 on the Champs-Elysées?

  • Marcel Kittel37.14%
  • Alexander Kristoff12.44%
  • André Greipel7.74%
  • Mark Renshaw2.15%
  • Peter Sagan40.53%
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