Take It From Carol: Tour de France Stage 16
The GC takes a back seat to the sprinters....but not any crosswinds.
As the third week of the Tour begins, the sprinters have two more opportunities for Stage wins: today and in Paris. Of course, with the Alps in between (Stages that can eliminate sprinters), today is perhaps their best last chance.
The route begins and ends in Nîmes and is a bit lumpier than sprinters prefer (except Sagan...he thrives on lumpy terrain with a bunch sprint finish), but has a long straight shot to the line. If this was a normal Tour, then the riders to watch: Viviani, Groenewegen, Ewan and Kristoff (and of course Sagan. Always Sagan).
This Tour has proven to be anything but normal.
Both Viviani’s and Groenewegen’s team (Deceuninck–Quick Step and Jumbo–Visma) have GC contenders to consider. Will they be keen to expend valuable energy for a Stage win with crucial Alps stages ahead? Or will they sit back and protect their GC hopes?
Ewan’s (Lotto-Soudal) team has no such divided interests. A third Stage win this year—with the potential for more— would make a great Tour even better. Stage wins are Lotto-Soudal’s prime objective (yes, they have Wellens leading KOM but can he defend against Pinot? Probably not). I bet they are solely focused on Ewan’s chances.
When to watch: um the last three kilometers.
the Mistral blows in from the North cause ain’t nobody in the GC wanna get caught on the wrong end of a split (again).