As the 2018 Tour de France continues to head from the Alps westwards to the Pyrenees for the final week, the riders are greeted with a selection of ‘transition’ stages.
Stage 14 on Saturday offers an interesting mix of flat terrain in its first half followed by a testing selection of hills in its second half, with the significant and steep climb of Côte de la Croix Neuve right before the finish in Mende on an airstrip.
After the previous day’s sprint stage, stage 15 almost screams ‘breakaway’. It’s just the sort of terrain to entice a strong escape group to form and then fight it out for the stage win as the general classification riders are happy to let them go, ever mindful of the looming Pyrenees.
Welshman Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is the general classification leader going into stage, sitting one minute and 39 seconds ahead of defending champion and team-mate Chris Froome.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is in third place, one minute and 50 seconds behind Thomas overall.
Despite the testing final ascent to Mende, many GC riders may opt to avoid expending energy in attacking… others may view it as a golden opportunity.
On Sunday, the riders face another hilly stage. Three categorised climbs awaits the riders as they travel from Millau to Carcassonne over 181.5 kilometres.
Along the way, they’ll ascend and descend the category two Col de Sié and category one Pic de Nore.
The race concludes on Sunday, July 29, in Paris.