Welcome to the Pyrenees! This year's tour hits these mountain stages early which will test the riders over the next three stages. This first stage starts in the town of L'Isle-Jourdain and travels southwest on a slow steady false flat incline to Boulogne-sur-Gesse at 50 km into the race. From there the course turns west through rolling hills before making the turn south at Chelle-Debat at 90 km. Riders will then prepare for the first of two categorized climbs on the day the long but lower grade category 4 climb up Côte de Capvern at 117 km. Sprinters will vie for the intermediate point right before the gradient really kicks up for the category 1 climb up the famous Col d'Aspin, a 12 km 6.5% gradient beast. The stage however does not finish with a mountain summit as riders will have a 5 km descent with some switch backs that could bring the GC riders all together before the last 700 meters of slight 3.5% uphill to the finish at Lac de Payolle.
|Stage Distance||162.57 km|
|Avg. Peloton Speed||39.22 km/h|
|Avg. Pulling Power||339.85 watts|
|Avg. Pulling Yaw||3.82 °|
The wind will start out with a bit of a cross wind, though again the wind speed is low, decreasing throughout the day and riders will be sheltered by the terrain. As the course turns west the wind becomes more of a cross/head but as riders approach the mountains going south it will turn to slight tail wind. Temperatures will start a bit warm at near 30 but as riders get into the mountains the temps will drop nearly 7 degrees to end near 23. Humidity will rise so hopefully the roads stay dry on the descent into the finish.
Though it's the shortest stage of the tour so far at 162.5 km riders will not be enjoying the last 60 km as they hit the first major climb of the tour. An early break could occur but there are not a lot of places to pick up big time on the group, so they should be pulled back before the first climb up Côte de Capvern or soon after. Weather should not play much of a factor other than limiting time gains from a break as the course goes west from Boulogne-sur-Gesse.The obvious section for the most time gains will come on the main category 1 climb up Col d'Aspin. There are multiple places on this climb where explosive attacks could put a lot of damage into a lead group. Top rIders will look to ascend the mountain in a bit under 35 minutes. Using the Time Analysis tool on the climb you can see where attacks could gain the most time during the steepest section (7 km into the climb where the gradient kicks up to 8-9%). In this area a rider that is 63 kg, like Richie Porte, can put out 3% less power than a rider at 66 kg and still gain time. Niro Quintana, at 58 kg, could output 8-9% less power and still keep the pace. If someone wants to put in a big effort there could be gaps of a couple minutes, but because there is a long descent most of the GC should end up back together. The final 1 km comes after a sharp left hand turn and is a low gradient false flat uphill. We expect no big time gaps between the GC and Greg Van Avermaet may extend his Yellow for another day. To perform this analysis we primarily focused on the Power Plan tab using the time based option to see the type of times we could expect on the climb.
Analysis was performed by modeling the peloton as a single rider using front of the pack drag characteristics and pulling power targets. Take a look at the entire race plan that was used for this analysis, which includes additional features, metrics and downloadable files.
Stage 7 Race Plan: https://www.bestbikesplit.com/client/43937