It’s one of those stages that makes the most of a few iconic climbs. Today it’s the Col du Lautaret followed by the Col d’Izoard, with a summit finish at Risoul, a Dauphiné favourite.
Saturday 19th July: Stage 14 – Grenoble to Risoul, high mountains, 177km
Uphill practically from the start, the peloton tackles the 34km climb up to the Col du Lautaret. Expect the teams to keep the tempo high to tire out their rivals well before the sharp end of the stage. The long descent will give the GC contenders time to consider their attack plan, as the next climb would be perfect for an attack on the maillot jaune which, if anyone still harbours any hopes of unsettling Vincenzo Nibali, will surely require someone to attempt a long-range move of some description.
That second climb would be the HC Col d’Izoard , the highest point in this year’s Tour, and it’s another long climb (19km), so it’s going to separate the men from the boys. But it’s not just the climb up that will look so tasty for rivals, but the descent as well, which is the more technical and steep side of the Izoard, so those who descend without fear will want to put pressure on those who ride their brakes.
Whoever has managed the descent best will face a 12.6km climb up to Risoul at a steady gradient of a whisker under 7%, so they should be able to keep a lot of speed and zip up the climb. It’s going to be fast and furious.
Link: Official website
Header picture: Fausto Coppi monument, Col d’Izoard