Date: Friday, July 29
Distance: 128.6 km
A little more challenging (at least in terms of elevation gain) than stage 5, stage 6 features three category four climbs and one cat three scattered throughout the day. There are sprint points available 85 km into the 129.2 km stage as well as bonus seconds up for grabs on the Route de Mollkirch with 27.7 km to go.
The final category four climb is just 9 km from the finish. At 2 km long it’s not a climb that any GC contenders will lose sleep over but it is still a nice launching pad for a late race attack. With two really hard days to follow, stage 6 might be a day for the breakaway, so it could be a stage of two races. That of the GC favourites and of the race for stage honours.
With the final climb relatively close to the finish it’s a downhill run to the line. The leaders will descend until the final kilometer where the road starts to flatten out just in time for the finish in Rosheim. The descent also has a few significant corners, especially just after 2 km to go.
Just inside the flamme rouge, the road narrows substantially, so it will be a scramble to get into position before 500 meters to go.
Who will win stage 6?
I am really hoping a breakaway succeeds in one of these two “in-between” stages, and with stage 5 going to Lorena Wiebes, stage 6 is the last chance for a lot of riders to take a stage.
Wiebes’ Team DSM mates kept stage 5 together for their sure-fire win and Wiebes may be a sprinter but she can still get over that final climb unless someone really hits it, and someone will hit it. That someone could be Kasia Niewiadoma. She went for the bonus seconds on stage 3 and was active on stage 4, with no success. With a downhill to the line stage 6 is a good one for the Canyon-SRAM rider. She could be joined by Elisa Longo Borghini. The Italian on Trek-Segafredo is a favourite for the general classification but might not be able to match Annemiek van Vleuten on the long climbs. Both Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini should want to go into Saturday with a headstart on their rivals and Friday is their last chance. Likewise, Demi Vollering (SD Worx) could be seen putting pressure on whenever there were bonus seconds up for grabs in the last three stages. Perhaps the Dutchwoman will want to try for the stage on Friday.
Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service) has been knocking at the door for a victory multiple times not only at the Tour de France Femmes but all season long. Perhaps stage 6 will swing in her favour.
After three days in the yellow jersey Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) will not want to give it up, and a category four climb is a piece of cake for the G.O.A.T.. Unlike Wiebes, whose team will focus their energy on Juliette Labous in the mountains, Vos’s team is there for her. They might go all in for another stage victory and another day in yellow.
If by luck has it the day goes to a break there is no saying who could jump in there. Too many riders will be dreaming of crossing the line first.