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Stage 19, 2016 Tour de France
Friday’s stage is the final summit finish of the 2016 Tour. Stage 19 travels 146km (90.7mi) from Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. Attacks are sure to come on the Category 1 Côte des Amerands/Le Bettex (9.8km at 8%) finishing climb; it was here, at the 2015 Criterium du Dauphiné, that Chris Froome dispatched American Tejay van Garderen to take the overall victory.
Date: Friday, July 22
Start: Albertville (Two-time host city, population 19,300)
Finish: Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc (Two-time host city, population 5,800)
Distance: 146km (90.7mi)
Elevation Gain: 4,030m (13,221ft)
Weather forecast: The morning sky will be cloudy with rain showers. Strong rain expected with storms on the afternoon. 23°C (73°F) at the start, 15°C (59°F) at the top of the climb of Bisanne. The wind will be weak.
Stage notes: This is the first time the Tour de France will climb the Montée de Bisanne, an Hors-Catégorie summit (8,2% on 12,4km).
GC standings (click yellow):
Tour de France (2.UWT) Sallanches → Megève
Comment from race director, Christian Prudhomme: “An amazing scenery: The Mont Blanc will be ever present all along the day. It’ll also be the opportunity to discover two mountain passes of La Forclaz which will make it a total of three with the Swiss Forclaz. What follows: The brand new climb up the Mont Bisanne which will hurt the legs of many before the final climb to Le Bettex through the tough paths up the Côte des Amerands.”
Chris Froome (Team Sky): “Tomorrow is a very tricky stage with a lot of tricky descents. There’s talk about thunderstorms during the race. It’s definitely going to have to be a stage where we stay right on our game. Of course it’s fantastic that I opened out my lead today, but we can’t relax and switch off now. We’ve got to see this through right to the end.”
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “I guess Froome is out of sight now. But with five guys within one minute and eight seconds, it will be fierce between us. It all became more exciting, unfortunately for me, though. But it’s definitely better to be in my spot than fifth. I’m healthy and feel good.”
Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep): “This morning I felt good, but things changed during the race. Hopefully, tomorrow morning I will wake up with the same sensations. I have never felt so good this late into a Tour de France, I also managed to avoid being sick, and I’m happy for that. Two crucial mountain stages are now coming and I hope things will go in the way I want.”
Rafal Majka (Tinkoff): “There are two hard stages to come but luckily I have quite a lot of [KOM] points of an advantage. I’ll try to win a stage but the priority is the polka-dot jersey. I’m tired. I’ve done the Giro and Tour with breakaways and fights for the KOM. The legs feel it. Nothing is easy. If my rivals go away tomorrow, I’ll try it, too.”
Sean Yates (Tinkoff Director Sportif): “Tomorrow is another mountain stage and the polka-dot jersey is not yet sewn up. Roman [Kreuziger] has got to keep plugging away in the GC fight, and Rafal [Majka] has to keep an eye on De Gendt too. He had a hard day in the break yesterday, but I’m sure he’ll be ready to fight again tomorrow.”