Tour de France 2023 Favourites stage 6: Attackers or GC riders in mountain finish

Mattias Skjelmose - Tour de France 2023 Favourites stage 6: Attackers or GC riders in mountain finishfoto: Cor VosThe elevation gain on the sixth day of action is roughly 4,000 metres. The Tourmalet adds most leverage to the race, while the finish lies 45 kilometres further up the road in ski station Le Cambasque. Attackers or GC contenders, that's the question. (Slideshow route/profile)

On the road from Tarbes to Cauterets the first hors catégorie climb of the Tour is on the menu. It’s the legendary Tourmalet, the most used ascent in the Tour de France history. The giant is 17.1 kilometres long and averaging 7.3%. In the run-up to the Tourmalet the riders also face the Côte de Capvern-les-Bains (5.5 kilometres at 4.8%) and the Col d’Aspin (12 kilometres at 6.5%).

The Tourmalet peaks out just before kilometre 100. Would have been a great finish, but no, the riders are not there yet. First a proper downhill into Luz-Saint-Sauveur, secondly a 12 kilometres false flat further down to Pierrefitte-Nestales, and lastly the ascent to Le Cambasque, the ski resort in the mountains above Cauterets.

A finish at the Tourmalet would have been a sure catch for one of the best climbers in the peloton. But since the finish is now 45 kilometres further up the road, another scenario is just as likely. Or better, possibly even more likely. The Le Cambasque climb is not the hardest climb in the world. But it’s long – 16 kilometres at 5.4%.

Hard to predict the outcome. The breakaway could succeed if there are a number of good climbers on board. If not, the attackers are expected to be taken back. And since the run-up to the Côte de Capvern-les-Bains is flat, chances are that the lead group will not be packed with strong climbers. In which case an uphill sprint of a select group is a possibility. Or a successful late attack.

Our guess is that we’ll see an attacker ride into bliss in Le Cambasque. Probably not from the first breakaway, but from the second, which will take shape on the Aspin or Tourmalet.

On the other hand, Pogacar was hanging in the ropes on the Col de Marie Blanque, so Vingegaard could give it another whirl.

Favourites 6th stage 2023 Tour de France

*** Mattias Skjelmose, Pello Bilbao, Jonas Vingegaard
** Tadej Pogacar, Giulio Ciccone, Julian Alaphilippe, Neilson Powless
* Rui Costa, Felix Gall, Matteo Jorgenson, Georg Zimmermann, Ruben Guerreiro

Another interesting read: route 6th stage 2023 Tour de France.

Tour de France 2023 stage 6: profiles

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