The 3rd stage in the Alps shouldn't be as tough as stage 17, but does feature four categorized climbs and starts on a non categorized, but difficult climb right at the start out of Albertville. The course winds its way around the alps from one climb to the next with only a few sections of respite on the run into the intermediate sprint point at Doussard and the long descent after the category 1 Col de la Forclaz de Montmin, which at 9.8 km features and average grade of 6.9%. When riders reach Ugine, the real race will begin starting with the category 2 climb up Col de la Forclaz de Queige which is immediately followed by the Hors Categorie Montée de Bisanne, a monster climb at 8.9% average grade for 12.4 km. At 125 km riders will face a steep technical descent into Domancy. The final test will be the 9.8 km ride up Le Bettex at an average grade of 8%.
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After days of low winds and sunny weather the forecast is calling for a change. The humidity will be much higher and the roads might get a bit wet if the rain comes through as expected. What winds the riders face will be primarily cross for the majority of the course, but at the start of the final climb there will be a slight tail wind. Temperatures will be in the low 20s and drop as riders climb to the finish.
With the yellow jersey all but solidified, Sky will look to usher Froome through the mountains and control the GC pace. Those riders vying for podium spots will be looking to attack each other over the final two climbs, while Mollema will be looking to hold on to 2nd and Froome will simply cover attacks. There are some great places to launch a breakaway early in the first 2 km and around 4 km up the non categorized initial climb. Majka has a comfortable lead in the king of the mountains competition, but he will be looking for early breaks to pad his lead. There has still not been a french winner of a stage this year so French riders may try to create or look for breaks knowing the GC teams will let non threatening breaks get away without much response. The TIme Analysis tool shows that the first three climbs represent the best place for some breaks to form; however with a good effort a leading group could pad the time in the first two flatter sections into Doussard and Ugine.
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 19 Race Plan: https://www.bestbikesplit.com/client/45046