Following an uneventful opening the route begins to rise in false flat fashion at kilometre 40. Still nothing special though – that is, if you just look at the course. Obviously, the battle to be part of the breakaway will be intens and fun to watch.
Halfway through the race, the extended false flat turns into a 2.3 kilometres climb at 6.2%. The route continues to rise gently after the Côte de La Rochette-du-Buis until the Col de Mévouillon is crested at kilometre 110.5.
Let’s assume the breakaway is a fact by now. Possibly with some riders to make it across – either failing or succeeding, it doesn’t really have impact on how the race unfolds. Predominantly flat roads lead to the Col de la Sentinelle, which is a 5.2 kilometres climb at 5.4%. Topping out at just under 1,000 metres, the pass is crested with 8.5 kilometres remaining. The attackers plunge down to the flamme rouge, while the last kilometre is played out on the flat.
As sprinters have no chance on this course and GC riders will want to save energy for the deciding mountain stages ahead of them, the breakaway is likely to arrive with a firm lead at the foot of La Sentinelle. Doubtless, the best climbers are going to bombard each other with attacks until the strongest persevere, while superior descenders could give it a shot in the descent.
Favourites 17th stage 2019 Tour de France
*** Matej Mohoric, Alexey Loetsenko, Magnus Cort, Greg Van Avermaet
** Tim Wellens, Jasper Stuyven, Pello Bilbao, Oliver Naesen, Matteo Trentin
* Rui Costa, Thomas de Gendt, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Daryl Impey, Fabio Felline
Take a look at the route of the 17th stage on the Tour de France.
Tour de France 2019 stage 17: profile and finale
Click on the images to zoom