AS THE Tour de France takes its final pause for breath, JOHN TREVORROW looks at the likely outcomes for the heavy hitters:
THE final week of the Tour de France is always the toughest but this year race organisers have made it even more brutal.
The battle for the yellow jersey has turned into a Slovenian duel and the leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and his apprentice Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) look set to for a classic duel.
But there is also a great fight looming for that third spot on the podium with five riders within 40 seconds. Aussie Richie Porte (Trek) is sitting in sixth spot but actually looks the strongest rider after the dominant Slovenian duo.
The race for the Green points jersey has presented us with another fascinating duel. Irishman Sam Bennett (Decueninck Quickstep) leads Slovakian Peter Sagan (Bora hansgrohe) by 45 points and this will almost certainly go all the way to the final sprint in Paris.
As we head into the final week of this enthralling Tour de France – Let’s take a look at how the race is playing out.
On last Monday’s first rest day I rated how I thought the top contenders were looking. Now after 15 outstanding stages and with three monster Alpine stages coming up, let’s take a look at how they’re all shaping up.Embed from Getty Images
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) – The Slovenian was my original pick to take out this year’s Tour. He has not put a foot wrong and his team has been the strongest. I did doubt him for a while, but he looks the real deal.
Original prediction first overall – New prediction – will win
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) – I don’t have to change much from my words last week – The 21 year old Slovenian has just gotten better each day. He will challenge for this Tour and actually looks the strongest right now.
Original Prediction was a toss up between Pogacar and Pinot for third overall. New prediction to finish second but push Roglic all the way to Paris
Rigoberto Uran (EF Education) – Seems to be getting back to some of the form that saw this Colombian climbing specialist finish second in the tour in 2017. Currently sitting in third spot and will be hard to budge.
Original prediction Five to 10. New prediction same but closer to fifth.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton Scott) – The dour Englishman had said he wasn’t here for GC. Well that obviously is not the case now. He and Richie Porte were the only riders capable of issuing any type of challenge on the last mountain stage and he is a genuine chance to finish on the podium.
Prediction 4th overall.
Richie Porte (Team Trek) – The diminutive Aussie is still looking good and seems to be improving each day. His ride on stage 15 showed he was right in the mix with the two Slovenians.
Original prediction – a real chance to match his best fifth overall in what looks his last chance at the GC. Five to 10 – New prediction to finally make the podium in Paris, third overall
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) – The 26 year old Colombian super climber has actually improved in the last few days and his ability on the steep climbs over the next three days should see him challenge for that final spot on the podium.
Original prediction – Five to 10. New Prediction closer to fifth
Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) – The Spaniard was touted as a challenger before the Tour and is still in there fighting. Over the final mountain stages he has cemented his claim for as team leader.
Prediction 5 – 10.
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) – The Colombian defending champion has struggled in the last two mountain days and has now dropped right out of calculations. His Ineos team have also been found wanting.
Prediction – A fall from grace and from the GC. A stage win in the final days to save some face.
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) – The powerful Dutchman will be crucial in these final mountain stages if Roglic is to win this race.
Original prediction – will bury himself for Roglic – nothing has changed
Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) – The Colombian veteran has been found wanting in the last two mountain stages and has struggled when the real pressure is applied.
Prediction – Five to 10. New prediction closer to tenth.
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) –The Frenchman that looked most capable of getting on the podium, finally cracked over the last mountain days and is now out of contention.
GC after stage 15
|1||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma||65:37:07|
|2||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:00:40|
|3||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:01:34|
|4||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:01:45|
|5||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||00:02:03|
|6||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||00:02:13|
|7||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:02:16|
|8||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||00:03:15|
|9||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:05:08|
|10||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:05:12|
|11||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||00:06:45|
|12||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||00:06:52|
|13||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers||00:08:25|
|14||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:09:02|
|15||Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:32:27|
|16||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||00:32:55|
|17||Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:34:37|
|18||Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:41:33|
|19||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:43:26|
|20||Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott||00:57:07|