BATTLEGROUND FOUR: THE PYRENEES_
REVEL-COL DU TOURMALET, STAGES 14-17
Riders who have annoyed Contador and the Schlecks in the days leading up to the Pyrenees are going to get it back here. The organisers have backloaded the Tour with four brutal days in the Pyrenees.
Stage 14 favours pure climbers, with the double act of the very tough Port de Pailheres and the summit finish to Ax-3 Domaines. Stage 15 may finish at the bottom of a mountain, but it still favours attacking climbers — the Port de Bales is extremely tough, and from the top it's a headlong descent all the way to Luchon. The first part of the descent is narrow and twisting, then it joins the descent of the Col de Peyresourde a few kilometres above Luchon — It's not a good occasion for closing gaps, which means that advantages at the top of the Bales should stick. Stage 16 is more complicated, with the difficulties coming early in the day. The summit of the last climb, the Aubisque, comes 60 kilometres from the finish, and it's going to favour teams rather than individuals. But the final Pyrenean stage to the Col du Tourmalet will be decisive, unlike last year's Ventoux stage. First, it doesn't come as late in the Tour as the Ventoux, so the playing field won't be so levelled by fatigue (it also comes the day after the last rest day). Second, the earlier part of the stage is tougher than the Ventoux stage was, with two serious climbs. Third, if there's any wind whatsoever, it'll be a tailwind up the Tourmalet, favouring attackers.
No kind of tactics will break an Alberto Contador in top form here — the moment to gain on him has already passed.
ADVANTAGE: Contador, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Sastre, Basso
VULNERABLE: Menchov, Armstrong, Nibali, Kreuziger, Wiggins, Evans, Vande Velde, Leipheimer
Who's going to win... the polka-dot jersey?
Given the horrific record of past Tour de France Kings of Mountains going down for doping (think Franco Pellizotti, Bernhard Kohl, Michael Rasmussen),
The mountains and the points
The Alps and the Pyrenees go back-to-back in the 2010 Tour — here are the profiles
2000m 1500m 1000m
Was this article helpful?