tucked in full in the Alpsnear the border with Switzerland, This 14th stage of the Tour de France will start, specifically in the town of Annemasse. It will be 152 km to Morzine, the downhill finish in which Ion Izagirre won in 2016 in the rain. That was the last time that the alpine town was the outcome of the Tour, and Ion himself will repeat his presence… and being again a runner to follow in case the escape arrives, but calmer after having achieved a huge goal with his victory this week in Belleville-en-Beaujolais.
The route will consist of five ascents, with a more demanding second half of the race than the first and with a colossus like Joux Plane, one of the toughest climbs in this edition. It will be 11.6 km at an 8.5% average gradient, with practically no breaks or flat terrain, which is crowned 12 km from the end. In addition, it is a bonus port, which distributes eight, five and two seconds, respectively, for the first three. From there, a sharp descent towards Morzine. In those few kilometers to the finish line, they will go from around 1,700 at the top to being under 1,000 at the false flat finish line.
The runners union (CPA) requested if this descent could be modified, but the Tour rejected it, arguing that there are safety protections (even mattresses) placed at various points and the asphalt was recently improved so that the cyclists had a better pace. Seven years ago, in the rain, Ion Izagirre got rid of Jarlinson Pantano and Vincenzo Nibali in the lowered technique and triumphed solo. The start, even if it is less hard, will not be bearable at all: three ascents (Saxel, Cou and Feu) in less than 55 km, two of them first-class, which a priori should serve to consolidate the escape… if the favorites for the general, ambitious in this edition, allow it.
Yesterday, despite Kwiatkowski’s victory, the UAE tried to fight for the stage, but the Pole avoided it. After these first three ascents, it will be the turn of Col de la Ramaz, a first category even more demanding than the others of the same level of this stage, all before the dreaded Joux Plane. The Alps, the stages in which Vingegaard showed his impatience for them to arrive at his pleasure and his great rival, Pogacar, who claims to have more experience and an improvement in long ascents. The nine seconds between Vingegaard and Pogacar, the sixth lowest difference ever in the Tour between the first two after thirteen stages. The duel is served.