Tour de France Stage 6 Preview
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Peter Sagan took his first win in the race in a shedded bunch sprint in Colmar. The day had a really fast start with lots of riders trying to get in the breakaway but a small group ended up distancing itself but the pace was high in the peloton all day long which allowed Sunweb and Bora to easily control the race in the climbs, Rui Costa attacked in the run-up to the line but it was to be a sprint and in the end Sagan was the fastest ahead of van Aert and Trentin.
Positive: There wasn't much to take from the day, Sagan the winner, consolidating green and taking the stage.
Negative: I'll say Sunweb, there wasn't much to the day, they did most of the work mainly in the final section of the stage and Matthews wasn't even close to the win.
Stage 6 is a familiar new face to the Tour, having it's 4th appearance as a summit finish since it's debut in 2012, but with a little tweak. But before getting there is a truly hard stage, very similar to the one seen in a rainy day in 2014, there are some big climbs some of the most iconic of the Vosges, including Le Grand Ballon and Ballon d'Alsace, but that's just a fragment of the stage. In total there's almost 4000 meters of climbing, and it's a rollercoaster that will lead to the decisive two final climbs.
Of course with such a hard finish and the usual Tour dynamics the Col des Chevrères won't have as much of an importance as it could, it's a very hard climb with a kilometers at almost 15% with some hideous ramps, but likely it will come as more damage before the ascent to La Planche des Belles Filles, 1.2Km longer than the usual ascent, as the race will head up the gravel road right up to the summit of the mountain, featuring even more brutal ramps of 24%, after a 7-kilometer climb.
A little breeze from the east, shouldn't have any influence, as is the temperature in the low 20's with clouds.
I believe it's a stage for the GC riders. Some teams like INEOS and Astana have already shown their intentions, there are lots of teams with climbing-filled talent and chasing down a breakaway in such hard terrain shouldn't be a big struggle, only as it's very early on the race and there are still dozens of riders in the overall contention, and surely they will want to target the stage in the peloton and they won't want to make a possible mistake by attacking early on. It's a stage to test everyone, to settle the hierarchy of the race and from there on we will see those who are fit for the breakaways and those who aren't.
Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal come as the men to watch the most, both are as main contenders to the race and with INEOS' support there isn't much that can prevent them from being up there, both in the fight for the stage and taking yellow. Of the teams that have several options Movistar is definetely the main rival, Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana enjoy more the longer climbs but the climb is a bit longer this year which may come in handy, with Alejandro Valverde it gives very solid support and strategical freedom.
Jakob Fuglsang and Adam Yates are the two climbers that threaten the most out of those, their team support isn't as strong as the previous but both have more than enough to at least take them to the final climb, both should like the type of climb ahead, suits them both very well. Thibaut Pinot is in his home climbs, motivation won't be lacking but above all he is giving serious indications of being a genuine contender for the race win, the team is so far giving great signs and he is too by gaining some seconds in Epernay, this is a day that fits him very well, he was second here in 2014 which itself is already a very good sign itself.
Of the explosive riders there's a good mention for Dan Martin and Michael Woods, but there are several other names such as Rigoberto Uran, Steven Kruisjwijk and Emanuel Buchmann, even Richie Porte who could do a good ride tomorrow. Most of all a test on how far they can go in the race. Romain Bardet and Enric Mas also fit in this scenario, should be up there but it's hard to see them fighting for the win.
Riders like Nibali are an incognite, don't quite know how good he's riding but alongside Fabio Aru they are the two past winners in this climb previously, both can ride well or bad tomorrow, nothing can be a surprise. Warren Barguil, Tiesj Benoot, Patrick Konrad, David Gaudu and Kelderman are riders still in range to pull a good surprise, the real question between those riders will be of Alaphillipe. He's far from a climber that would withstand the pace riding that will surely mark the day, he's an explosive rider but I don't believe in him to keep yellow at all, it's not a day for explosive riders and climbing steadily with the big guns isn't something he can do as well as the riders who seek to take the jersey from him tomorrow.
⭐ Landa, Quintana, D.Martin, Kruiswjijk, Buchmann, Porte
He's been here every time the race went up the climb, he knows the route very well it's his home roads, the audience will be behind him, so as his team that looks to be climbing very well but above all he is showing tremendous form, since early 2018 the signs are clear that Pinot is at the level of climbing needed to win a 3-week race, his form this year seems to have been built up very well and he is ready for a full tilt at the GC, and it will start here.
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