Stage 14’s 194km run from Clermont-Ferrand to Lyon will be an appetising prospect for those keen to pick up a stage win from a potential breakaway. There is plenty of climbing to be completed early on in the day, with the 10.2km Col du Béal bound to help shape the day’s decisive break away. The concluding doubleheader of Category 4 ascents should not be decisive, yet if the run into these has proven gruelling, then there is every chance these could be the deciding factor when it comes to the day’s frontrunners.
The majority of the day’s climbing comes early enough for Peter Sagan to consider getting in the mix and ultimately deciding the day’s outcome. Utilising his team to great effect once again, putting pressure upon the pure sprinters and placing himself amongst an elite group from which he could be the strongest left fighting for stage honours
It feels impossible to disregard Wout van Aert on most stages at this year’s Tour de France, which will make him a serious contender on today’s offering, where his ability to cope with rolling terrain is bound to prove favourable. His turn of pace is deadly on such gradients as those featuring in this finale, and if given the chance to pursue the win, would be tough to beat.
This might finally be a chance for Luka Mezgec to show his worth, as this terrain suits his talents extremely well, if he is on a good day. His potential lead out train could prove decisive if functioning correctly, while the distance and parcours of Stage 14, further plays into the hands of a rider who performs best when others suffer most.
Having now lost the leadership of Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprints, NTT Pro Cycling are likely to look to Norwegian superstar Edvald Boasson Hagen in order to be represented in the day’s conclusion. The strength of Boasson Hagen and his team is likely to secure him a safe passage into the finale, but there is a feeling that his survival would also guarantee the presence of those faster around him.
Others to consider from either a reduced sprint or breakaway are: Matteo Trentin, Bryan Coquard, Greg van Avermaet, Jasper Stuyven and Clement Venturini.
1st Wout van Aert 2nd Peter Sagan 3rd Edvald Boasson Hagen