Tour de France 2013: Preview and Predictions for Stage 19
Stage 18 of the 2013 Tour de France created one of the race's most memorable moments when Chrisophe Riblon became the first Frenchman to win a stage in this year's race. Will Stage 19 provide another great moment?
The stage is certainly set to create one.
Christopher Froome is beginning to separate himself from the pack as he continues to don the yellow jersey, but as Sky Sports reported via Twitter, the Sky Procycling rider was docked 20 seconds for a rules violation which means pulling away will be a bit more difficult.
Chris Froome given 20-second penalty for breaking Tour rules - more on #SSN now— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 18, 2013
Aside from the penalty, Froome (and the other riders) will have his hands full in Stage 19. It's one of the most difficult to navigate in the entire race and every contender will have a sliver of hope now that they automatically gained 20 seconds on the lead.
With just three stages left, riders will really have to dip deep to finish strong. Here's a look at one of the last challenges the riders will face.
When : Friday , July 19 at 6:00 a.m. ET
Watch : NBCSN (live coverage from 6 a .m . - 11 :30 a .m . ET )
Where : Bourg-d'Oisans to Le Grand-Bornand
If you wanted to describe this stage in one word, it would be "challenging." If you'd like to expand it to two, it would be ridiculously challenging.
According to David Millar, fellow cyclist Ryder Hesjedal has deemed it "The Redonkathon," which one can assume is a play off of the word "redonkulous."
So, forget about today, @ryder_hesjedal has been referring to tomorrow's stage 19 as "THE REDONKATHON" since Corsica. That means very hard.— David Millar (@millarmind) July 18, 2013
The point is this is a difficult stage, and Hesjedal isn't using hyperbole. The riders, fresh off of a 172.5-kilometer (107-mile) mountain stage on Thursday, will be asked to pedal an additional 204.5 kilometers (127 miles) through the Alps on Friday.
As the Tour's official site points out, the route is especially grueling toward the end, as the riders will need to complete three climbs in the final 60 kilometers.
Getting off to a strong start will be the key to those wanting to survive the final push.
This is a tough prediction to make because it's difficult to tell who is going to have enough gas in the tank to make a run after the difficult stage the day before, but Nairo Quintana is a sneaky good pick to steal the stage.
The Team Movistar rider is currently just behind Froome in the race for the Red Polka Dot jersey awarded to the best climber, but he has yet to win a stage.
At 23 years old, his youth could be an advantage as the quick turnaround between stages shouldn't affect him as much. He finished fourth in Stage 18.
With Froome looking to protect his yellow jersey he has no reason to get aggressive here and risk injury, that should open the door for Quintana to have his best moment in this year's race.
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