When Thursday, July 21
Category Mountain time trial
Impact on GC 4/5
What a day this will be. Each rider has to go as fast as he can for 17 kilometres, 14 of which are uphill. This is real date with destiny stuff. There are no tactics, nobody to focus on, no carrot or stick; just each rider, his bike, the road ahead and gravity. Cycling doesn’t get much simpler than this. Add in a gobsmacking setting, and you have Tour de France perfection.
We are in an area of France called the Haute-Savoie. The first part of the stage is a bit of a street race through the outskirts of Sallanches, where the road just drags upwards. Then they will hit the Côte de Domancy and its steep hairpin bends. The route levels out a bit after that, and is much straighter after passing through Combloux.
The gradient slowly increases again before a short, flatter step to the final ramp. That takes the riders to the summit of the Côte des Chozeaux. It’s two kilometres from there to the finish, and it’s straight down all the way. It will be a test of nerve as much as skill.
It’s now Chris Froome‘s race to lose. The Sky leader managed to stretch out his advantage at the top of the general classification on stage 17 after the majority of his rivals faded. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) looked to be struggling, and so it remains to be seen whether the Colombian will be able to gain any time on Froome.
Second-place on GC, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) also lost time the previous day, whereas Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) clawed back valuable seconds. Can Yates’s impressive Tour ride continue?