Stage 14 is a relatively flat course but at 208.5 km it will be another long day in the saddle. Starting in Montelimar the course features 3 category 4 climbs in the first half of the day on the way north to Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux. The first climb will be up the Côte de Puy-Saint-Martin at 20.5 km. The next two categorized climbs are back to back with the Côte du Four-à-Chaux at 93.5 km and the Côte d'Hauterives at 101.5 km. The remainder of the course features some rolling hills before the gradient levels out over the final 50 km. The flat and straight 3 km run to the finish finally sets up nicely for the sprint teams trying to form leadout trains.
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|Avg. Pulling Power
|Avg. Pulling Yaw
Riders have been battling cross winds for the past week so even the flat stages have required maximal effort. While the wind will still be high at over 22 km/h, it will be primarily a direct headwind. So sitting in the peloton will give riders quite a reprieve. Temperatures will however remain high in the mid to upper 20s.
The early hills could lead to some early breakaways. With the headwind and the ideal finishing sprint setup, it would take a significant group to stay away. That being said, this tour has been full of great breakaways so it's not out of the question; however, with the conditions it would take a monumental break effort or a complete disinterest from the peloton for a break to stay clear. After several days of hard racing, occasional mountain wind sprints, and a tough time trial, GC riders will want to take it easy. With no real reason to attack on a stage like this, we expect stage 14 to be one for the sprint teams to finally get organized with some leadout trains over the final 3 km into Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux. Using the Time Analysis tool, increase drag by 10% to amplify the impact of the headwind which shows that the only real places to make significant time will be the 3 category climbs and some of the smaller uncategorized hills.
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 14 Race Plan: https://www.bestbikesplit.com/client/44527