The stage sets out as a race for sprinters. The first 130 kilometres are played out on flat to rolling terrain. All in all, the route rises gently, which offers the breakaway to establish a firm lead.
The last 80 kilometres are totally different. The riders tackle the Col de Peyresourde (13.2 kilometres at 7%) before a fast descent and a false flat in the valley leads onto La Hourquette d’Ancizan. The final test climbs at 7.5% for 9.9 kilometres, while time bonuses of 8, 5 and 3 seconds are to be gained at the summit. Will that be enough to inspire the GC riders to go all out?
To win the race you have to be a good climber and dito descender. Arguably, the stage is likely to see the breakaway succeed. With no rider on board who is high ranked on GC, the route is tailor-made for the attackers to build an advantage that allows its members to decide the day’s honours between them. The best climbers will put each other to the test on La Hourquette d’Ancizan and, if necessary, in the downhill. The first part is steepest, so best suited to open up a gap, while the final kilometres are virtually flat.
Nibali is targeting stage victories since he was unable to follow the GC riders in the first week of action. So he can take advantage of both his climbing and descending skills La Hourquette d’Ancizan – that is, if he is in the mix.
Another contender who would love to be in the mix at the summit of La Hourquette d’Ancizan is KOM leader Wellens. Usually, the Flemish attacker favours shorter ascents, but the polka dot jersey could give him something extra. He is a good descender also.
Obviously, Wellens’ team mate De Gendt is always a force to be reckoned with. He is second in the mountains classification, so if things don’t work out for Wellens, De Gendt could always try to take command of the polka dots.
Favourites 12th stage 2019 Tour de France
*** Vincenzo Nibali, Thomas De Gendt, Tim Wellens, Warren Barguil
** Julian Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde, Thibaut Pinot
* Mikel Landa, Adam Yates, Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas
Take a look at the route of the 12th stage on the Tour de France.
Tour de France 2019 stage 12: profile, last climb, finale
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