Tour de France 2013: Preview and Predictions for Stage 20
Christopher Froome has built a comfortable lead in the 2013 Tour de France, but there's still plenty of drama to be sorted out as Stage 20 represents one of two final opportunities to make a final push for the race's conclusion.
Stage 19 saw Team Movistar's Rui Alberto Costa climb the Alps on his way to victory in the 204.5-kilometer mountain stage. ITV Cycling tweeted out the news.
The win gave him his second stage victory this year (he won Stage 16) and moved him to No. 24 in the overall classification, per the Tour's site.
His celebration will be short-lived though. The turnaround for Stage 20 will be a difficult one.
Here's a look at everything you need to know about the final mountain stage and a prediction for the stage winner.
When: Friday , July 20 at 7:30 a.m. ET
Watch: NBCSN (live coverage from 7:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.)
Where: Annecy to Annecy-Semonz
What Stage 20 lacks in length compared to Stage 19, it more than makes up for with altitude. Riders are in for plenty of challenging climbs as they'll constantly be going from climb to climb.
As if that weren't challenging enough, the climbs get progressively more difficult as the stage wears on, per Peloton Magazine:
As the tour's site points out, we've already come to know how the various teams will be looking to approach the stage.
Team Sky will look to keep Froome safe as he looks to protect his five-minute lead down the stretch, Saxo-Tinkoff is going to be aggressive if it believes it can make a move for the yellow and Movistar will try to give Nairo Quintana the best chance possible to make a run at the lead.
The relatively short and intense nature of this stage makes it a difficult one to project—just one crash or mistimed move could send a rider to a disappointing day.
However, Pierre Rolland is a good bet to put in a strong performance.
The 26-year-old Frenchman hasn't run the best race of his Tour de France career, but he's coming on strong to finish out the race. After finishing eighth overall in last year's race, he finds himself at No. 25 in the classification this year.
His pursuit of the polka dot jersey is coming along much better. After falling to eighth in the classification, he came roaring back in Stage 19 to seize the jersey.
It would be a slight shock to see a rider of his caliber not win a single stage, and this is his last opportunity to do so.
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