Tuesday’s downhill finish to Foix was another safely negotiated by Tour de France leader Jonas Vingegaard as he retained his two-minute and 22-second lead over Tadej Pogacar (5/2 Tour de France Outright).
While the Dane (1/3 Tour de France outright) maybe another day closer to Paris, life doesn’t get any easier on Wednesday as the peloton tackles a 129.7km route from Saint-Gaudens to the airfield at Peyragudes.
A relatively flat start means the break could get away but the terrain suggests it won’t feature too many climbers. This could be a problem for the stage-hunters, with the route featuring three category one climbs and a category two.
The Col d’Aspin, Hourquette d’Anzican and Col de Val Louron-Azet are all likely to see their fair share of action before the final climb to Peyragudes.
Team DSM’s Romain Bardet won here in 2017 and is 33/1 to do so again after a tough Tuesday where he slipped to ninth in the General Classification.
However, the real question will be whether Vingegaard, 9/2 for the stage, will have enough teammates to protect him on the final climb. Pogacar knows how to get the job done and is 3/1 but while Jumbo-Visma are losing bodies, his Team UAE Emirates are showing signs of improvement.
Speaking of numbers, Ineos Grenadiers still have three riders in the top 10 on the General Classification, with 2018 winner Geraint Thomas their highest-ranked at third, two minutes and 43-seconds behind Vingegaard.
With Adam Yates, Tom Pidcock and Dani Martinez also looking strong, Ineos could look to pile the pressure on.
Thomas’ quotes after Tuesday’s stage suggest he is happy with his condition and how the team is performing.
“I was feeling good,” he told the Ineos Grenadiers website. “When they went on the steep bit I didn’t panic, let them go and stayed at my own pace.
“I had something left in the legs and had almost closed them by the top. That was encouraging and obviously it was really good to have Dani up the road. It was a really good team performance.”