Stage 16 could be another day for the Tour de France general classification challengers to try – and likely fail – to dislodge race leader Tadej Pogacar from their wheel. Rigoberto Uran, Jonas Vingegaard, Richard Carapaz, Ben O’Connor and Wilco Kelderman are all still battling it out for a podium place, so that will be something to keep an eye on over the 169km route.
The stage contains four categorised climbs, the last two of which come inside the final 33km and average more than seven per cent. So it is a tough afternoon in the saddle for all involved, even if they promise to be well rested heading into the final six days of the Tour.
The most logical conclusion to draw from today’s stage profile is that a breakaway will likely make it to the finish. With a huge GC day expected to take place on Tuesday, Pogacar and the rest of those contesting the podium will almost certainly wait for stage 17.
We are also coming towards the end of the Tour with a host of teams still without a great deal to shout about. Movistar have struggled at this year’s race despite Alejandro Valverde trying and failing to take stage 15 as he finished second behind Sepp Kuss. The 41-year-old Spaniard could well see this as an opportunity to go one better and take his fifth career stage win at the Tour.
Although there are four tough climbs on the agenda, the magnitude of tomorrow’s stage for the general classification hopefuls will likely mean they leave this one for the breakaway. Alejandro Valverde finished second behind Sepp Kuss on stage 15 and could we choose to bid for victory again in this one. Then there is Nairo Quintana who also seems to be fighting for both King of the Mountain points and stage wins. But my pick for today is the irrepressible Wout van Aert who seems to win when you least expect him to. The Belgian also appears to be targeting the polkadot jersey, so that could also be a motivating factor for Van Aert to launch a solo attack.
Stage 16 is set to start at 12.05pm BST and is expected to finish at around 4.30pm.