(Image Credit: © ASO) Insights, results and profiles

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Stage 21 / Sunday July 18 / Chatou – Paris Champs-Élysées, 108.4km / Times: 16:15 – 19:00 / Elevation Gain 676m

Wout Van Aert takes the Champs; Pogacar takes the Tour

Photo and full article by KITTYFONDUE @ velovoices.com and for the race full results @ procyclingstats.com

The 2021 edition of the Tour de France closes with the traditional parade on the Champs-Elysées, with a showdown between the best sprinters still on the race. For the fourth year in a row the final stage of the race starts in Chatou, just west of the capital, but the route initially heads east for a brief while before doubling back on itself. At this point the pace will be relaxed with teams and riders soft-pedalling through the opening kilometres and using the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and reaching the Parisian circuit with the usual arrival slightly uphill on the cobblestones….. and as Mark Cavendish aims for record today, he is currently level with Eddy Merckx on 34 Tour de France stage victories, will he be able to succeed? Meteo – “Sunny and hot weather Northeasterly wind 15 to 20kph with gusts up to 40kph. Temperatures will range between 27 and 29ºC.” Bookmakers – Favoutites quote: Cavendish 2, Van Aert 5, Philipsen 5, Mads Pedersen 15, Bol 18, Morkov 28, Laporte 28.

Stage 1 / Saturday June 26 / Brest – Landerneau, 197.8km / Times: 12:10 – 17:00 / Elevation Gain 2697m

Julian Alaphilippe crosses the line in Landerneau.
Photograph: Chris Graythen/Reuters

Tour de France: Julian Alaphilippe takes opening stage marred by big crashes

  • French rider wins and takes yellow jersey in Landerneau
  • Chris Froome are among riders hurt in crash 8km from the finish line

Full article by Jeremy Whittle @ theguardian.com and full results by procyclingstats.com

The 2021 Tour de France gets underway with a difficult stage between Brest and Landerneau with an elevation gain of 2,600m. Instead of opting for a short time-trial or a final for sprinters, ASO has decided to insert six short climbs within the opening 198km of this year’s race. Possible cross-winds and the final uphill kilometres will force all race contenders to be on the alert and ride up front. The finish is at the top of 3 km climb with an average 5.7% (with a 14% peak) and all Tour favourites will be there aiming for time bonuses of ten, six and four seconds. The stage finish seems a perfect battleground for Mathieu Van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews, Sonny Colbrelli and Julian Alaphilippe, but it could also be a test for all the general classification contenders who will be scared of crashes and time gaps on the first day of the Tour. The weather forecasts suggest cloudy grey skies after rain on Friday and so dry roads with little chance of wind. The bookmakers favourite is Mathieu Van der Poel quoted at 2, followed by Van Aert, Alaphilippe and the Italian Colbrelli, respectively quoted at 5, 6 and 8.

On a final note, if the Dutchman takes the yellow jersey, he will certainly honour the memory of his grandfather Raymond Poulidor who was never able to wear the leader jersey throughout his whole career. 

Stage 2 / Sunday June 27 / Perros-Gueirec – Mûr-de-Bretagne, 183.5km / Times: 13:10 – 17:30 / Elevation Gain 2241m

Hi Grandpa, that’s for you! ….. Full results @ procyclingstats.com

photo credit: gettyimages

TOUR DE FRANCE 2021: STAGE 2 – VAN DER POEL TAKES YELLOW ‘POUR POUPOU’. Full article by STRICTLYISSIE @ velovoices.com

The second stage features less climbing metres than stage one (elevation gain 2000m vs 2600m) but finishes with the Mûr-de-Bretagne. The climb is just 2km but with a 7% average gradient and with the first km in double figures. The stage will be divided in two halves. The first half of which follows the English Channel coast from the beautiful Côte de Granit Rose (“the Pink Granite Coast”) to the city of Saint Brieuc (hometown of Bernard Hinault), the second half with five categorised climbs including the double climb of the Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne.

For many a stage for the pure punchers and Julian Alaphilippe will undoubtedly be one of the main favourites. If Alaphilippe can take a second consecutive victory while wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey, the stage offers Michael Matthews, Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and Sonny Colbrelli a perfect chance of revenge after defeat in Landerneau. In addition, we expect another battle for every second amongst the general classification contenders. Once again, this isn’t a day for the peloton to relax, especially after yesterday’s drama. An intense finish as for the previous day. The weather forecast suggests a similar situation to yesterday with some additional risk of rain. Little wind is expected and mostly favourable to the march of the peloton.

Stage 3 / Monday June 28 / Lorient – Pontivy, 182.9km / Times: 13:10 – 17:24 / Elevation Gain 1610m

Tim Merlier wins stage three of Tour de France after another chaotic race

Mathieu van der Poel retains the yellow jersey while Julian Alaphilippe remains second. By Ian Parker @ independent .co.uk

After two days that catered for the puncheurs, the pure sprinters will have their first occasion of this year’s Tour de France. The stage departs from Lorient, the hometown of former King of the Mountains winner Warren Barguil, with the race moving along the coastline before heading inland where, before reaching the finish line in Pontivy, the peloton will face a couple of short côtes that will leave little impact in the race. A possible early breakaway will certainly be controlled by the teams of the stronger sprinters that won’t want to miss out on this first opportunity on this Tour edition. The first real opportunity for the best sprinters, on a rather undulating course is in the final 90kms. Pay particular attention to the tortuous final descent that ends just 3 km from the finish, it will be very difficult for the team’s sprinters to get organised. Bookmaker’s predictions quotes (rounded average): Ewan 2, Demare 4, Cavendish 7, Merlier 10, Van Aert 10; also expect in the first positions Sagan, Colbrelli and Van der Poel, defending his just conquest of the yellow jersey.

Slightly warmer than yesterday, during the race expect temperature between 16 and 20 degrees. The weather forecasts still suggest cloudy grey skies and some rain. Little wind expected.

Stage 4 / Tuesday June 29 / Redon – Fourgères, 150.4km / Times: 13:25 – 16:52 / Elevation Gain 1447m

Mark Cavendish!!! Tears of joy

MARK CAVENDISH TURNS BACK TIME

Full article by MIDGE © VeloVoices.com and full results @ procyclingstats.com

The Tour de France’s mini Tour of Brittany ends on stage 4 with another fine opportunity for the sprinters. With just 150.4 kilometres in length, this stage is shorter than the previous day. There are no categorised climbs between the start in Redon and the finish in Fougeres and the entire stage takes place in the Ille-et-Vilaine region. The last time the race ended in Fougeres was in 2015 with Mark Cavendish taking the stage. It’s an identical finish this time with the sprinters set to enjoy their second straight day of action before the stage 5 time trial. Only if riders find rainy conditions the party for the fast wheels will be ruined. Expect little wind and temperature of around 24 c.

Bookmaker’s predictions quotes (rounded average): Merlier 3, Demare 4, Cavendish 4, Philipsen 8, Van Aert 10; also expect in the first positions Sagan, Colbrelli, Pedersen, Bol, Bouhanni and Van der Poel, still protecting his yellow jersey.

Stage 5 / Wednesday June 30 / Changé – Laval, 27.2km / Times: 12:15 – 16:50 / Elevation Gain 332m

Tadej Pogacar sees off rivals

Full article and photo from @ morningstar.co.uk. Full results procyclingstats.com

The Tour de France leaves Brittany on stage 5 and riders will tackle the first of two time trials in this year’s race. The fight for the yellow jersey will be the highlight of the stage and the 27.2 km test between Changé and Laval Espace Mayenne will cause major changes to the overall standings. The GC favourites will need all their energy here. The stage looks almost flat and ideal for time-trial specialists but there are undulations, plenty of false flats and grinding ascents and the course is partially tortuous so specialists should not make big gaps. Will Van der der Poel maintain his yellow jerseys in this medium-length time trial? Bookmakers favourites and quotes: Wout van Aert 2, Stefan Bissegger 3, Stefan Kung 4, then Asgreen, Kragh Andersen, Bjerg, and watch our for Roglic, Pogacar and Uran. The temperature will be around 20 celsius with little wind and some possible rain.

Stage 6 / Thursday July 1 / Tours – Chàteauroux, 160.6km / Times: 13:55 – 17:26 / Elevation Gain 935m

Cavendish crowned king of Châteauroux

Tour de France: Cavendish crowned king of Châteauroux
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

Full article deceuninck-quickstep.com and for full results procyclingstats.com

After the stage 5 time trial and a reshuffling at the top of the overall standings, the race restarts with a stage for sprinters- another opportunity not to be missed. However, while the stage profile looks tailor-made for the fast wheels, the finish has a couple of right-angled bends placed before the last completely straight 1600 meters, but with a very slight uphill road. This 160.6-kilometre stage leaves Tours and heads east. This should be a day for the sprinters, and Mark Cavendish won his first-ever Tour stage in the finish town of Châteauroux back in 2008. Bookmakers quote: Cavendish 2, Merlier 4, Van Aert 5, then Philipsen 6, Demare 6, Bouhanni 12 and Bol 16.

The temperature will be around 23 degrees with little wind and some cloud but no rain.

Stage 7 / Friday July 2 / Vierzon – La Creusot, 249.1km / Times: 11:00 – 17:05 / Elevation Gain 3139m

MOHORIC’S MAGNIFICENT VICTORY ON A DAY THE TOUR WENT BONKERS

full article by MIDGE @ velovoices.com and full results on procyclingstats.com

The most challenging stage so far in this Tour edition with an interminable stage (almost 250 km). The stage, which sees the race head east from Vierzon, is the longest Tour stage in 21 years, totalling a whopping 249.1 kilometres. After the first mostly flat part with an unavoidable and probably large breakaway, the stage will offer 3,000 m of elevation gain, concentrated in the last 100 km and with challenging climbs in the last 35 kms.

The first decisive point will be the Côte de la Croix de la Libération, 4.6 km at 5.3%, but distorted by a short downhill section preceded and followed by double-digit ramps,  the second one will be the 2nd category GPM of Signal d’Uchon, with bonus seconds located just 18 km from the finish, 5.7 km at 5.7%, with the last two kms with an average gradient of 11% and a peak of 18%. Finally the 4th category GPM of Côte de la Gourloye of 2.4 km at 5.3%, from the summit there are only 8 km to the finish, with the descent which ends at 1600 meters from the arrival. The last obstacle with be the last kilometre with an average gradient of 3.4% and perfect for the attack of the stage hunter for the day. For many, this stage resembles a harder version of a Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The punchers may get another chance with Julian Alaphilippe seen as a specialist for this type of course. The distance, coupled with the difficult second half will create a finale open to several solutions and could change in race leadership. Bookmakers favourites quotes: Mathieu Van Der Poel 7, Julien Alaphilippe 12, Wout van Aert 14, Sonny Colbrelli 16. Since anything can happen the following names are all with breakaway specialists. Pogacar and the other GC contenders are quoted 25 or more.

The temperature will be around 22/24 degrees and sunny or a little cloudy spells with very little wind.

Stage 8 / Saturday July 3 / Oyonnax – Le Grand Bornand, 150.8km / Times: 13:10 – 17:06 / Elevation Gain 3438m

Tadej Pogačar stomps on GC rivals as opponents crumble at the Tour de France

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pogačar takes one big step toward the Paris podium with a pummeling performance in the Alps. Full article by Jim Cotton @ velonews.com

Five talking points from stage eight of Tour de France 2021. Pogačar produces one of the all-time classic rides as Thomas and Roglič suffer. Full article by CHRIS MARSHALL-BELL @ cyclingweekly.com and full results procyclingstats.com

On stage 8 of the Tour de France the race heads into the Jura and Alpine mountain, starting from Oyonnax with an uncategorised climb offering the perfect launchpad for breakaway attacks. There is no summit finish but with five categorised climbs and the fatigue from the previous day, the stage may be very damaging to several general classification contenders. The hardest climbs are all concentrated in the final third of the stage and in rapid succession, the last 50 kms will offer three 1st Cat. climbs: the Cote de Mont-Saxonnex (5,7 km at 8,3%), the Cote de Romme (9.1km @ 8.9%) and the Col de la Colombiere (7.4km @ 8.5%).

After that a 15km descent to Le Grand-Bornand. The first opportunity is not to be lost by the best climbers.

Stage 9 / Sunday July 4 / Cluses – Tignes, 144.9km / Times: 13:00 – 17:30 / Elevation Gain 4392m

Ben O’Connor wins stage 9 of the Tour de France as Tadej Pogacar retains yellow jersey in Tignes

(Photo Credit: Getty Sports)

The Australian claimed an impressive stage victory in the Alps in his first Tour de France appearance. Full article by  Jamie Braidwood © independent.co.uk and full results @ procyclingstats.com

Five talking points from stage nine of Tour de France 2021. O’Connor delivers a stunning ride as Pogačar continues his dominance. Full article BY CHRIS MARSHALL-BELL @ cyclingweekly.com

Today in Tignes the race will start without Primoz Roglic, who drops out of Tour de France due to injuries sustained in a crash on stage 3. This is the only uphill finish on the Alps with 4400m of elevation gain and follows yesterday’s tough mountain stage. The 144.9 km between Cluses and the ski station at Tignes will include five climbs, in succession the Côte de Domancy (2.5 km at 9.4%), Col des Saisies (9.5 km at 6.2%, with the first 6 km at 7.6%), the Col de Pré (13.1 km at 7.4 %, with last 7 km at 9.4% and the first HC of 2021 Tour), the Cormet de Roselend (5.8 km at 6.3%) and finally the 21 kilometre climb to Tignes.

The long steady climb of the Montée de Tignes, 20.9km and an average gradient of 5.6% is long, but not particularly steep. But being the first uphill finish more surprises are yet to come. Although the road is flat out with 2 kilometres to go, this is still the hardest stage of the Tour so far. 

The temperature will be around 20 degrees and rain is expected during the whole race. Bookmakers favourites quotes: Pogacar 4, Lopez 9, Fuglsang 13, Alaphilippe 13, then Woods, Chavez, Martin, Porte and Carapaz all between 16 and 20.

Rest day 1 / Monday July 5

Stage 10 / Tuesday July 6 / Albertville – Valence, 190.7km / Times: 13:05 – 17:23 / Elevation Gain 1352m

Mark Cavendish wins 33rd Tour de France stage to move within one of Eddy Merckx’s record

(Photograph: Stéphane Mahé/Reuters)

The Manxman held off the charge of Wout Van Aert and Jasper Philipsen to take his third win of this year’s race and close in on history. Full article by Jeremy Whittle © 2021 Guardian News & Media and for full results procyclingstats.com

 
Following the first rest day in this year’s Tour de France, the stage recommences with 190.7km from Albertville to Valence. It’s a day for the sprinters. Michael Matthews won a stage in the area back in 2017, beating Edvald Boasson Hagen and John Degenkolb, on a day that was also hit by crosswinds. Today could be an important day for the battle for the Green jersey since the flat finish into Valence is perfectly suited for the fast wheels, so we can expect a mass sprint here. However, the final 50 kms are a little complicated- about 45 km from the finish line we face the unclassified ascent of Les Chaumets (about 5 km at 4%), followed by other undulations, tortuous roads and a downhill stretch between -30 km to -10 km. Therefore if the daily breakaway climber will have the last ascent with a good advantage, it will be not so easy to catch by the chasing group. The last 10 km are made up by long straights and a few roundabouts, the last of which are 350 meters from the finish. METEO: It will be hot on the Tour route this Tuesday. Up to 29 degrees is expected in the Isère and Rhône valleys. The wind could pick up as the stage progresses and be accompanied by thunderstorms at the end of the race. BOOKMAKERS favourites quotes: Cavendish 1.25, Van Aert 5, Bouhanni 6, Philipsen 6, Sagan 12, then in order Mads Pedersen, Bol, Colbrelli and Matthews.

Stage 11 / Wednesday July 7 / Sorgues – Malaucène, 198.9km / Times: 12:00 – 17:18 / Elevation Gain 4570m

WOUT A DAY ON VENTOUX FOR VAN AERT

full article by Luke @ VeloVoices.com and full results procyclingstats.com

There are two ascents of Mount Ventoux for the first time in Tour de France history and nearly 200 km. Stage 11 is all about the climbers. Before the riders get to the first ascent after leaving Sorgues, they will take on two small fourth category climbs, the Cote de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and the Cote de Gordes, followed by the first category Col de la Liguière. The riders will then descend into Sault before beginning the first ascent of ‘the Giant of Provence’. The first passage to Mont Ventoux is from the easiest of the three possible routes to reach the top but it’s also the longest, from Sault with 24.3 kilometres of climbing and an avg 5.1% gradient. The toughest gradient come into view around Chalet Reynard with the riders emerging from the tree-covered landscape. At the summit the rider’s descent into Malaucène for the first time and after taking a short uncategorised climb to Bédoin, the road will go up once again to the final ascent of the Ventoux.

15.7 kilometres long, and with an average 8.8 per cent, the road is steep from the very start topping 10% in the final kilometre. At Chalet Reynard they hit the roads they climbed on the earlier previous passage and once the summit is taken a long descent will bring riders into Malaucène to the finish line. At the end of this day a definitive picture of the top General Classification will emerge and if the weather is particularly hot, gaps can be very significant. On top of the obvious favourites, keep an eye open on Colombian Miguel Ángel López, winner of the Ventoux challenge in early June, posting the fastest time for the climb since 2004. METEO – Nothing is spared the riders of the Tour de France this year. On the roads of Vaucluse, the weather will be capricious with thunderstorms expected around Malaucène between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. with a humidity level of over 58% …

The mountain is also etched in cycling history as the place where British rider Tom Simpson died, aged 29, in 1967, suffering heart failure on the climb. The peloton will pass a memorial to Simpson on their ascent.

Stage 12 / Thursday July 8 / Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Nîmes, 159.4km / Times: 13:30 – 17:12 / Elevation Gain 1800m

Nils Politt puts in the performance of a lifetime to pull off perfect late attack and win Tour de France stage 12

Photo Credit: Bettini Photo

Full article @ bora-hansgrohe.com and full results @ procyclingstats.com

After the double ascent of Mont Ventoux on stage 11 the race returns to a less demanding terrain with a 159.4 kilometre stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Nîmes, starting from the Drôme, in the direction of the Ardèche, before finishing the stage in the Gard. As with stage 10, however, appearances can be deceptive and despite only one short climb, the Côte du Belvédère de Tharaux (4.4 km, 4.6%), the exposed roads could create a lot of difficulties if the wind picks up. The intermediate sprint, located 27 km from the finish, could offer the perfect rehearsal if there is a sprint at the finish in Nîmes. Do the sprinters teams will be able to catch the unavoidable breakaway? The final sprint can be complicated by a gentle uphill stretch of almost 5 km that ends just over 10 km from the finish and the many curves placed in the last 3500 meters. This stage should end with a bunched sprint, but a 2000m of elevation gain and the ondulate stage profile could make it difficult for some of the pure sprinters to get to the finish line with the head of the race. METEO – After a day when the mercury climbed to 35 ° C, the riders of the peloton will still experience significant heat on the roads of Occitanie. Around 30 ° C is expected on the finish line in Nîmes. A bright sun will accompany the large Tour de France caravan throughout the day. Bookmakers – favourites quotes: Cavendish 2, Van Aert 5, Philipsen 11, Bouhanni 11, Sagan 14, Bol 18.

Stage 13 / Friday July 9 / Nîmes – Carcassonne, 219.9km / Times: 12:05 – 17:15 / Elevation Gain 1980m

Cavendish equals Merckx’s stage-win record with another victory at the Tour

Manxman takes 34th Tour stage in Carcassonne, putting him level on Tour de France stage wins with sport’s all-time great. Full article @ morningstaronline.co.uk

On stage 13, the riders will leave Nimes and head towards the historical city of Carcassonne. On paper this looks like the usual transition stage that brings the peloton towards the Pyrenees but this 219.9 kilometre may tell you a different story. In addition to the threat of crosswinds most of the terrain is undulated and we could see either the breakaway or a reduced bunch sprint decide victory. The course hardly has any obstacles worth mentioning, only the 4th Cat. Pic Saint-Loup hill (5.5 km, 3.6%), located at km 51 and the intermediate sprint, in Fontès, taking place at km 104, but rides to Carcassonne in the Tour de France never ended in a bunch sprint. That should give the attackers in the peloton courage for this thirteenth stage. On the other hand this may be one of the few chance left for sprinters. Will they be able to control the stage? The final is quite twisty and the last kilometre is still slightly uphill with an average gradient of 1.5% and the finish line will not be visible until the last 200 meters due to a couple of half curves to the right. METEO – No clouds in the sky for the Tour de France riders this Friday. Very sunny conditions are expected again for this 13th stage. Temperature is expected to reach 28° C during the hottest time of the day. Wind gusts should not exceed 10 km / h. Bookmakers – favourites quotes: Cavendish 3, Van Aert 9, Asgreen 16.

Stage 14 / Saturday July 10 / Carcassonne – Quillan, 183.7km / Times: 12:15 – 16:48 / Elevation Gain 2731m

Mollema delivers!

QUILLAN, FRANCE – JULY 10: Bauke Mollema of The Netherlands and Team Trek – Segafredo celebrates at arrival during the 108th Tour de France 2021, Stage 14 a 183,7km stage from Carcassonne to Quillan / @LeTour / #TDF2021 / on July 10, 2021 in Quillan, France. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

After numerous attempts in breakaways by Trek-Segafredo, Bauke Mollema succeeds with victory in Stage 14 at the Tour de France. Full article @ racing.Trekbikes.com and full results procyclingstats.com

In stage 14, the race moves out of Carcassonne for a 183.7 kilometre heading south to the town of Quillan with cyclists ready to tackle the Pyrenees. On paper this looks ideal for the attack of courageous breakaway, but the stage could be decided by the final climb, the Col de Saint-Louis from which there is a long descent of nearly 17 kms to the finish line. The perfect day for an an escape from far out with five categorised climbs on the route and an elevation gain over 2500m. The 3rd Cat Col du Bac will be an appetizer followed by the central section of the stage, with three challenging climbs placed in sequence: the Col de Montsegur (4.2 km at 8.7%), the Col de la Croix des Morts (6.8 km at 5.7%; first section of 4 km at 7.3%) and the Côte de Gallinagues (2.2 km at 9%). After a long downhill phase of around thirty kilometers, there will be a final difficulty with the Saint-Louis pass (4.7 km at 7.4%). A breakaway group is likely to split in the ascent to col de Saint-Louis (4.7km at 7.4%) whose summit is with 16.9km to go. A perfect springboard to the stage win in Quillan, the climb also assigns bonus seconds and it is rather hard in its first part with 2.5 km at 9%.
METEO – It will be hot and sunny with around 30° C from the start to the finish and around 25° C during the stage, when going through the different passes. The heat and the sun may play a role in today stage. BOOKMAKERS – Favourites quotes: Van Aert 8, Alaphilippe 9, Mohoric 15, Cort Nielsen 18, Colbrelli 20.

Stage 15 / Sunday July 11 / Céret – Andorre-La-Vieille, 191.3km / Times: 12:20 – 17:28 / Elevation Gain 4379m

SEPP KUSS TAKES FLIGHT IN ANDORRA ON A DAY OF JUMBO GAMBLES

full article by Kittyfondue @velovoices.com and full results @ procyclingstats.com

Stage 15 from Ceret to Andorre-La-Vieille, 191.3 kilometre, is one of the hardest in this year’s race. After the start in Céret, the road heads uphill for the first 15km. This gives the breakaway a good chance to form. The riders will then face the intermediate sprint at Olette, and it is after that the road starts to climb and there is four categorised ascent along the remaining 120 kms route with three of them classified of the first category. The dances will start with the summit of the Montee de Mont-Louis, 1st Cat 8.4km and 5.7%, the climb continues past the KOM up to the Col de Calvaire. In reality, riders will go up for almost 28 km overall at an average of about 4.5%. A long descent to La Tour de Carol will be immediately followed by the Col de Puymorens ( 5.8 km arg 4.7%) and after a short descent, the riders will reach the highest point in this year’s race, the Port d’Envalira (Souvenir Henri Desgrange for the first rider to reach the Tour’s highest point), topping out 2,408 metres. The ascent is over 10km in length though again, the average gradient doesn’t exceed 6%. After the descent, the final climb of the day, the Col de Beixalis, the first three riders will receive time bonuses. The Col de Beixalis is 6.4km and averages well over 8%. The second and third kilometres are the most challenging — this 2.5 km spell averages over 11% with max 15% gradient.

From its summit, there are about 15 km of a steep and highly technical (especially the first eight) descent will take the riders towards the centre of Andorra where there is the finish line. METEO – An alternation of clear and cloudy sky should follow the whole route. The finish it is expected to be around 27° C in Andorra la Vella, with temperature dropping a few degrees when they cross the 2,000 m. BOOKMAKERS – Favourites quotes: Pogacar 7, Vingegaard 11, Woods 15, Gaudu 15, Van Aert 18, Lopez 18, Carapaz 18, Alaphilippe 18, Nibali 21.

Rest day 2 / Monday July 12

Stage 16 / Tuesday July 13 / Pas de la Case – Saint-Gaudens, 169km / Times: 13:05 – 17:21 / Elevation Gain 3260m

Patrick Konrad attacks solo twice to take tremendous win on Tour de France stage 16

(Photo Credit: ©Bettiniphoto). Press release @ BORA – hansgrohe and full results @ procyclingstats.com

After the second rest day, the Tour restarts and stage 16 sees the race heading back into France. The 169 kilometres from Pas de la Case to Saint-Gaudens present some Pyrenean climbs scattered along the route but far from the finish line. You must expect another early quality breakaway with a small group of survivors playing for the stage victory but the stage has several tricky points and some of the GC contenders may try to invent something different. In order the riders will climb the 2nd Cat Col de Port, 11.4 km at 5.1%, with a 5km central section at 7.5%, the 1st Cat Col de la Core (13.1 km at 6.6%) and the 2nd Cat Col de Portet-d’Aspet (5.4 km at 7.1%; last 2.5 km at 9%).

The Col de Port and the Col de la Core are punishing, regardless the official indication, both are over 14km. Although they are too far from the finish line, if one of the riders in the top-ten is showing any signs of weakness or fatigue, expect no mercy from their rivals. After the Col de la Core the riders will descend into the valley before facing the Col de Portet-d’Aspet and on the following descend, they will be passing the Fabio Casartelli memorial. 8km from the arrival, there is one more climb, the last and shortest climb of the day, the Côte d’Aspret-Sarrat, only 800 m but at 8.4% and followed by 2 km of descent. Therefore, the latter can be the decisive point of the stage and provide the perfect launchpad for a final attack. The final 500m are again uphill, nothing to demanding but it will be felt after the ups and downs of today stage. METEO – For the Tour organiser: “Partly cloudy at first, becoming gradually cloudier with a risk of odd showers. Cool temperatures: 8°C at the start, 10°c in the passes, 16 to 18°C in the valleys. Mainly westerly wind, strengthening after Oust, around 20/25kph with gusts up to 50kph for the finish.” BOOKMAKERS – Favourites quotes: Van Aert 6, Alaphilippe 10, Fraile 17, Mohoric 17, Cort Nielsen 19, Aranburu 21, Higuita 22.

Stage 17 / Wednesday July 14 / Muret – Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet, 178.4km / Times: 11:50 – 16:49 / Elevation Gain 4124m

Tadej Pogacar at imperious best with stage 17 victory on Col du Portet

  • Defending champion wins brutal stage on Bastille Day
  • Vingegaard and Carapaz strengthen grip on podium spots

Full article by Jeremy Whittle @ theguardian.com (Photo Credit: Christophe Petit-Tesson/EPA)

A mountain finish for stage 17 in a day that can be crucial for the top positions of this edition of the Tour de France. All difficulties are concentrated in the last 60 km with three tough Pyrenean cols. Starting in Muret, the route heads southwest and the opening 115 kilometres are relatively flat until the peloton reach Bagnères-de-Luchon. From there, the riders will face three ascents one after the other: first, it is the turn of the Col de Peyresourde (13.2 km at 7%), a familiar sight in the Tour, then the short and intense Col d’Azet (7.4 km 8.3%) and, finally, the Col du Portet, a long and demanding climb that made its debut in 2018 and returns this year in such a crucial day.

Between the climbs there is not a meter of plain terrain. The Peyresourde is followed by a difficult descent into Loudenvielle, then after the Col d’Avet another technical and rather treacherous descent. At the end of the descent the Col du Portet starts immediately. The final climb is 16.3km long with avg gradient of 8.6%, the ascent is will present immediately his toughest section (with the steepest section, 5 km at 10%, in the first half of the climb) and on the final kilometre the gradient reaches over 10% in several stretch. Meteo – Mainly cloudy with short sunny spells. Slight risk of getting light rain. Rain is expected at the start in Muret, with temperatures close to 12 ° C. The rain should disappear in the second part of the race with some sunny weather but temperatures still below 20° C, but only 7°C for the arrival at the Portet’s pass. In summary, chance of precipitation 20%, humidity 81%, wind up to 10 km / h towards S expected temperature: min 7° C, max 19° C. Bookmakers – Favourites quotes: Pogacar 3, Vingegaard 5, Carapaz 9, Quintana 15, Uran 18, Lopez 20.

Stage 18 / Thursday July 15 / Pau – Luz Ardiden, 129.7km / Times: 13:35 – 17:19 / Elevation Gain 3502m

Pogacar closes in on Tour title, doping suspicions hit race

Image Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by David Evans/Pritha Sarkar/Ken Ferris. For full article: reuters.com and for full results procyclingstats.com

Stage 18 is the final mountain stage of this Tour de France. It is short but with 2 HC demanding climbs in the last 50km: the Col du Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden. The stage is just 129.7 km and it is easy to immagine a battle in the first metre and the usual attacks to produce an early breakaway. In the first 55 km, there are two 4th Cat ascents, the Côte de Notre-Dame de Pietat, and the Côte de Loucrup, just before an intermediate sprint at Pouzac. From there, the race heads through Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Campan and Saint-Marie-de-Campan before the cyclists will face the slopes of the Col du Tourmalet (17.1 km at 7.3%; last 12 km at 8.7%). There’s then a long descent to Luz-Saint-Sauveur and the race starts to go up again. The riders will now start the last HC Cat climb of this Tour, Luz Ardiden (13.3 km at 7.4%; central section of 5 km at 9%).

The ascent is 13.3 km long, and the initially gentle gradient will go up after the second kilometre and it will be regular for the rest of the climb. After his victory on stage 17, the yellow jersey Pogačar has such a lead that the main interest of the race will be to focus on the fight for the podium between Vingegaard, Carapaz, Urán and O’Connor, and they should offer a spectacular 13 km on the finishing climb. Meteo – It should be drier than in the previous stages, but the temperature will still be relatively cool for this time of year. We should expect some sunshine and temperatures around 20°C in the valleys. Bookmakers – Favourites quotes: Pogacar 3, Vingegaard 7, Gaudu 9, Carapaz 11, Lopez 16, Higuita 22.

Stage 19 / Friday July 16 / Mourenx – Libourne, 207km / Times: 12:20 – 17:06 / Elevation Gain 1256m

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Two days after French police searched the team hotel of Bahrain-Victorious, Slovenian goes on the attack to send a signal. The full article by Andrew Hood @ velonews.com and full results procyclingstats.com

Ended the Pyrenees, the attention will turn back to sprinters for the 207 km stage 19 from Mourenx to Libourne. However without noteworthy difficulties, the stage will be tough to control for the sprinters teams, now with reduced numbers and fewer energy after the previous demanding stages. An initial breakaway will be difficult to avoid and the opening 50km will offer an hilly terrain ideal for attackers. The finish line is after a long straight of 6.5 km, with some wide half-curve and and the last km with the road that gently goes up. METEO – The riders will do the stage under the sun this Friday, with some clouds and a light wind. Temperatures will be around 25 degrees. Bookmakers – Favourites quotes: Cavendish 2, Philipsen 7, Van Aert 14, Ballerini 18, Bol 20.

Stage 20 / Saturday July 17 / Libourne – Saint-Emilion, 30.8km / Times: 13:05 – 17:19 / Elevation Gain 266m

Van Aert blasts to time trial victory in Tour de France

Photo Credit: CORVOS

Wout van Aert has won the twentieth stage of the Tour de France. The Belgian rider was the fastest in a time trial over thirty kilometres. It meant his second stage in this edition of the Tour. Jonas Vingegaard rode to third place. Full article @ teamjumbovisma.com and for full results procyclingstast.com

At 30.8 kilometre in length, the individual test between Libourne and Saint-Emilion is a flat and relatively short time trial. The stage, with little undulations and long straights will perfectly suit the time trial specialists. The only concerns will be on the

At 30.8 kilometre in length, the individual test between Libourne and Saint-Emilion is a flat and relatively short time trial. The stage has some undulations, but the long straights will perfectly suit the time trial specialists. The only concerns will be on the recovery capability of each riders after all the fatigues of this demanding Tour. METEO – A beautiful day ahead with only a few clouds and with a light wind coming from the north, this means a headwind for the first half and then a tailwind for most of the second half. Temperatures around 27 degrees. Bookmakers – Favourites quotes: Van Aert 2, Kung 3, Pogacar 3, Bissegger 7, Asgreen 9, Vingegaard 14, Bjerg 20.

Stage 21 / Sunday July 18 / Chatou – Paris Champs-Élysées, 108.4km / Times: 16:15 – 19:00 / Elevation Gain 676m

The 2021 edition of the Tour de France closes with the traditional parade on the Champs-Elysées, with a showdown between the best sprinters still on the race. For the fourth year in a row the final stage of the race starts in Chatou, just west of the capital, but the route initially heads east for a brief while before doubling back on itself. At this point the pace will be relaxed with teams and riders soft-pedalling through the opening kilometres and using the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and reaching the Parisian circuit with the usual arrival slightly uphill on the cobblestones….. and as Mark Cavendish aims for record today, he is currently level with Eddy Merckx on 34 Tour de France stage victories, will he be able to succeed? Meteo – “Sunny and hot weather Northeasterly wind 15 to 20kph with gusts up to 40kph. Temperatures will range between 27 and 29ºC.” Bookmakers – Favoutites quote: Cavendish 2, Van Aert 5, Philipsen 5, Mads Pedersen 15, Bol 18, Morkov 28, Laporte 28.

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