The Second Rest Day – The Calm Before the Storm?

Words: Cycling Direct | Photos: ASO

So we eventually we have reached the second rest day. From Corsica to the Pyrenees, up to the North of France and now back down South via the huge Provence climb of Mont Ventoux and now onwards into the Alps.

At the end of the stage 15 climb up Mont Ventoux, Chris Froome (Team Sky) remains in Yellow and also has the KOM polka dot jersey. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has the white young rider’s jersey and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) is in an almost unbeatable position in the green points classification.


And the riders will need this rest as the next few days are very tough. You would not want to be a sprinter clinging on to try and reach Paris.


Stage 16 - Vaison-la-Romaine / Gap. 168 kilometres

This a bit of a lead in, not so bad stage just to ease the peloton into the mountains. The first day after the rest day is never easy for a lot of riders. The day off can actually be more degenerative than if the race continued for a lot of riders. With an early category three, a category two then a long transit to the later category two climb 10 kilometres from the finish makes this one for a breakaway.


Stage 17

Individual Time Trial. 32 kilometres with two category two climbs. This could well sort out a few in the GC. Look out for Froome and his Sky team mate Richie Porte here.


Stage 18 - Gap / Alpe-d'Huez. 172.5 kilometres

The first of the really tough stages with the Hors catégorie (outside category) climb of Alpe d’Huez twice. After the first ascent of the Alpe the peloton will turn right towards the new category two climb of the Col de Saronne, which at 1999m is higher than Alpe d’Huez. This is where the race could become interesting on the 15 kilometre descent from the Col back into the valley. On the first six kilometre stretch the road surface is very poor, and although it was used in the recent Criterium du Dauphine, some of the riders specifically Tony Martin (OPQS) felt that is was dangerous.


Stage 19 - Bourg-d'Oisans / Le Grand-Bornand 204.5 kilometres

Another beast, traversing the famous HC Col de la Madeleine and before that the HC Col du Glandon. Both of these are in the first 85 kilometres of the stage and although there are another two category one climbs after 160 kilometres , this the type of stage that is going to allow a bold escape.


Stage 20 - Annecy / Annecy - Semnoz 125 kilometres

A short stage but punchy stage with a category two and three category three climbs leading to the category one Mont Revard at 78 kilometres with then a long downhill until the start of the 11 kilometre HC summit finish at Annecy-Semnoz. The last chance for glory and the final podium places may not be decided until the end of this day.


Stage 21 - Versailles / Paris Champs-Élysées 133.5 kilometres

The traditional procession into Paris, but with a twist this year. The stage will is not due to finish until around 21h45 in the evening at dusk. The route will go around a yellow lit up Arc d’Triomphe for the first time rather than turning in front. It is the last chance for the sprinters who have suffered for the last few days. Can Mark Cavendish make it five wins in Paris? Will the green jersey still be up for grabs?


Whatever happens stages 18, 19 and 20 will make or break any of the riders with GC aspirations, and one thing is for sure the 100th Tour de France will have lived up to all our expectations.


Road Cycling