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In this year’s Tour edition, there is only one time trial on the plan. At this stage, this one will be very short, only 22 kilometres long but it will be hilly. This will test the riders especially hard as speed and good climbing ability are required.
After the rest day, the riders will feel fresh – if that is possible with more than 2600 kilometres already cycled. This is what the top five look before the stage:
Stage 15 Standings
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 62hr 34min 17sec
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) +10sec
3. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) +5min 21sec
4. Adam Yates (UAE Emirates) +5min 40sec
5. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +6min 38sec
Tour de France Stage 16: Preview
During the course of this stage, there will be only one intermediate point of interest, the category 2 climb Côte de Domancy, three kilometres before the finish. This climb is only two and a half kilometres in length, but these climb up with an average gradient of 9,4%! Due to the nature of the tune trial, we will only have a final result at the end of the stage, when the last rider, Jonas Vingegaard, or Tadej Pogačar, as he might have already overtaken him, has gone over the top of this hill.
The rules of an individual time trial
The rules are ever so simple for a time trial: go as fast as you can and clock the fastest time on the course. The riders start in inverted order, which means that the last placed rider, currently Cees Bol of Astana Team who 157th in the overall classification with 37 minutes and 22 seconds behind Jonas Vingegaard.
When the first rider hits the road, the next twenty riders will start each a minute later. This time gap increases to 1 minute 30, before the gap between riders will increase once more to two minutes for the last 16. Jonas Vingegaard will start at 5pm sharp.
Moment of Truth?
This stage could be THE decisive of this year’s tour. Tadej Pogačar is a phenomenal time trialist as he has shown in 2020 when he overturned a deficit of 57 seconds and sealed his first victory at the Tour de France, ahead of his compatriot Primož Roglič. Pogačar won the Tour by 59 seconds that year. It underlines that 10 seconds, the lead of Jonas Vingegaard, is next to nothing in light of Pogačar’s abilities for this type of stage. The only issue he may have is the heat, which is something he does not like at all.
However, the yellow jersey gives you wings and Vingegaard, who is a climbing specialist, will not let go of his coveted jersey that easily. He has the advantage of riding behind Pogačar which means he knows his split times and can react accordingly and as we have seen over the last mountain stages, his strength is not necessarily the attack but the defence and reacting to the actions of his rival. On top of that, Vingegaard has the advantage of having beaten Pogačar in the second time trial last year, thus securing the overall victory in 2022.
We have seen so far that these two are riding in a class of their own this year – no one has stood a chance to get anywhere near them. On today’s stage, the decision will be between these two, with outsider chances for Stefan Kung or Victor Campenaearts.
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