Date: Friday July 9
Distance: 220 km
By this point the race is getting close to the Pyrenees. Before that though, the sprinters get yet another opportunity. Again, though, Prudhomme seems to suggest a different outcome: “Despite what the geography seems to suggest, never has a finish by the Carcassonne towers finished with a bunched sprint. Good news for the audacious!”
I admire his optimism, but this should be a bunch kick, assuming the weather doesn’t have something else in mind. That said, the forecast does call for some wind, so splits are a possibility, and it must be said that stage 12 sure looked like a good one for a bunch kick as well, right up until the pack decided to let the breakaway have its day.
What to watch for: Aerial shots of the magnificent fort of Carcassonne, right near the finish.
Who’s it for: Sprinters.
Dane Cash’s picks: Deceuninck-QuickStep seemed to have decided in advance not to try to put in too much work for a sprint on stage 12, but it wouldn’t make much sense to do that for a second straight day when the team has the most successful sprinter in this race in its ranks. Mark Cavendish stands out as the pre-stage favorite for obvious reasons, and even if crosswinds do force splits, he and his squad know how to take advantage of the conditions (remember stage 13 of the 2013 Tour?). Wout van Aert, Jasper Philipsen, and Nacer Bouhanni are other riders to keep an eye on as the race heads into Carcassonne.