The next week of the Tour should showcase the breakaway specialists and GC contenders in what is shaping out to be one the best Tour’s in recent memory.
The second week of the Tour de France was filled with high paced action and adrenaline pumping finishes. Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia proved to be the strongest climber through the first two stages in the mountains gaining time against all GC contenders on stage 8 and out sprinting Primoz Roglic, Egan Bernal, and Marc Hirschi to win stage 9. It was Roglic however who took the overall race lead on stage 9 as Adam Yates was dropped on the last climb before the run into the finish.
Following a rest day on Monday, stages 10 and 11 turned out to be as expected with bunch sprints occurring at the end of each day. Sam Bennet managed to capture both the stage and the points jersey on stage 10 as Peter Sagan’s troubles continued in his quest to capture an eighth green jersey. His frustrations seemed to boil over into full on anger in stage 11 as he was relegated to last place in the bunch sprint for what officials cited as dangerous riding. Caleb Ewing won the stage regardless, but Sagan was outed for using his head, shoulder, and elbow to move Wout van Aert off his line in the run into the finish. Van Aert was “disturbed and shocked” by the move Sagan made and was fined himself by race officials for an inappropriate action directed at Sagan (Fotheringham). The heavy favorite for the points jersey is in big trouble now as he slips over 60 points behind his rival Sam Bennet in the competition.
Stage 13 proved to be an exciting day for the yellow jersey contenders as the race once again finished up hill. Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar extended their leads to the rest of the field with impressive performances up the Col De Neronne and the Puy Mary Pas De Peyrol. The shock of the day however was that defending champion Egan Bernal lost over thirty seconds to Roglic and Pogacar in the general classification. It will be interesting to see over the next ten days whether Bernal can replicate his come from behind victory from last year. With a weaker team and stronger competition in this year’s tour, Bernal’s chances of repeating as champion grow slimmer by the day.
The next week of the Tour should showcase the breakaway specialists and GC contenders in what is shaping out to be one the best Tour’s in recent memory. Four legit mountain stages remain and one mountain time trial as well up the La Planche des Belles Filles. Stage 14, one of the flatter stages remaining, will likely go to the breakaway. However, Team Bora-Hansgrohe may decide to keep control of the race for Peter Sagan to try and win the stage. Look for him and Wout van Aert to renew their rivalry in the sprint if this occurs. The following four stages will all take place in the mountains in the high Alpes. Primoz Roglic should solidify his lead in the tour over those four days and baring catastrophe, will become the newest Tour de France champion. Tadej Pogacar will offer Roglic tough competition, but ultimately Roglic’s experience should prevail over Pogacar’s youthful panache.
Marc Hirschi Top 3 Mountain Classification +175
Hirschi has shown through the first 2 weeks of the tour that he can both climb and stick it out in the breakaway. These are two of the most important elements a rider must have if he is to win the mountains classification. I expect Hirschi to continue to jump in breakaways and even contend to win another stage.
Peter Sagan winner Points Classification +200
I don’t believe that Sam Bennett will be able to survive stage 18 of the tour without getting eliminated by the time cut. He has had a good run at the points competition, but I think his days in green and the tour are numbered.