Far from easing the riders back into action after the second rest day, Stage 16 is a 164km journey from La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans, finishing atop the Côte 2000 after surviving its ramps which reach over 10%. Overall, this is an extremely tough day in the saddle, totalling in excess of 3900m of climbing across the five categorised climbs the peloton must complete to move a step closer to Paris.
The expectation shall be to see a breakaway secure the stage honours, with the battle to make it into the early move likely to be fierce; as many teams are now under great pressure to leave this year’s Tour de France with a noteworthy result.
Previous polka dot jersey winner Warren Barguil could be eager to feature on Stage 16, likely to enjoy a greater amount of freedom, due to leader Nairo Quintana’s recent loss of time on the general classification. He is far from his career best form, yet could still prove tough to match if on a great day here.
Once again it is likely FDJ will send David Gaudu, Thibaut Pinot and Valentin Madouas into the fray, desperate to collect a victory in pursuit of salvaging something in the wake of their general classification disaster. There is immense pressure on the French outfit, and though Pinot would have once been the man to beat here, the recent form of Madouas suggests he will be the rider to threaten most today.
Though still on the path to recovery, Dan Martin can certainly challenge for the day’s podium, suiting the parcours well enough to suggest he will work to crest the Col de Porte in good enough shape to kick onwards for the win. Finishing upon the Côte 2000 is favourable, a finale which he would have been confident of dominating a couple of years ago.
Marc Hirschi is bound to throw his name into the hat again, eager to keep putting his incredible form to good use, though could do with some teammates to help him in the opening brace of climbs. If he gets such support, then there is every chance he will blow the rest of his fellow escapees out of the water once more.
It could be worth Lennard Kämna getting up the road once again, as he has shown some of his best form on tough days like these and still has the potential to collect a stage win at this year’s Tour de France. If he has managed to sustain his form since the Critérium du Dauphiné, then the youngster will be a name to watch for amongst the breakaway again.
Others to consider from a long range move are Julian Alaphilippe, Dani Martinez, Marc Soler, Omar Fraile and Pierre Rolland.
1st Warren Barguil 2nd Lennard Kämna 3rd Marc Hirschi