A ‘transition’ stage that takes them south-west towards the Pyrenees, on a day that looks perfect for a breakaway winner.
<p>We got our big breakaway today as predicted, and we had Julian Alaphilippe, Stefan Kung and Omar Fraile in it for us, and after a dramatic chase of the escapee Jasper Stuyven up the hill in Mende, it was our +$2200 man Omar Fraile who did the business for us and land a nice profit.</p><p> </p><h2>The Route</h2><p>A straight line almost due south-west as they leave Millau and head up over the first climb of the day to take them out of the Gorge du Tarn, the Cat 3 Cote de Luzencon is just 3.1kms at 5.9%, but coming right at the start of the stage the pace is going to be very high with guys trying to get in the break.</p><p>It rolls along for the next 45kms or so before they reach the Cote de Sié, a Cat 2 climb of 10.2kms at 4.9%, rising to almost 1000m. Up next is the Pic de Nore, a nasty little bump to put in before the finish, a Cat 1 climb of 12kms at 6.3.</p><p>25kms downhill on a very twisty and dangerous descent and they are on the flat run for Carcasonne. The last 10kms are more or less dead flat, but should the last kilometre be fought out by a group, the sprint is slightly uphill, only slightly, about 1.5%, but still something to remember.</p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5b5385714afd5b008dc95594/original-tdf-stage-15" style="width:776px;height:440px" /></p><p> </p><h2>Analysis and Picks</h2><p>I think today is a day for the break to make it all the way, there are a lot of tired bodies in the peloton now after this tough week with three Alpine stages and that crazy stage to Mende taking its toll. The rolling start is perfect for a break to go early on and build up a big lead, they could have 4 minutes by the bottom of the Col de Sie and 6 by the top of it, there’s no point in Sky wasting energy chasing it down</p><p>The Pic de Nore is a tough climb though, 12kms at 6.3%, with lots between 7.5-9.5% so we could see some attacks on it to try to shake out some GC men if they aren’t feeling 100%. From the top there are 41kms to go, but 35kms or so are downhill, it will be a very fast last 40kms to the line – if someone goes solo over the top and has 30” or more on the tired remnants of a break , they might hold on all the way to the line.</p><p>So break candidates – one I want to have an interest in is Thomas Marczynski of Lotto Soudal.. He looked supremely fit before the Tour started, he’s been putting his nose in some breaks without success, but I think this is more like a stage for him. He won two stages in the Vuelta last year, the first was on a similar stage to this, with a Cat 2 climb 40kms from the finish and a downhill run all the way almost. The second stage was very similar too, I remember it fondly having backed him at 150/1 for the stage.</p><p>His Polish compatriot Pawel Poljanski was with him in the break on both those stages, finishing 2nd to him once and 4th the other time.. They seem to like to go in breaks together, and Poljanski has been trying to get in breaks so far in this Tour too, he might try again.</p><p>Julian Alaphilippe might want to go after the relatively easy KOM points that are out there today, and depending on who’s in the break with him, he could well hang in there over the Pic de Nore and make it to the finish, but he was in the break today and had to put in a lot at the finish, I think he’ll be too tired tomorrow.</p><p>Cofidis will try to get someone in the break of course, maybe it’s time for Daniel Navarro to try again. Fortuneo might send someone too, Barguil might go if Alaphilippe goes to try to mark him for the KOM points, Barguil saved energy today by not going in the break. And Wanty Group Gobert might try to get someone in the break too, maybe Marco Minaard might go this time.</p><p>Direct Energie will want their share of the TV coverage, so expect someone like Sylvain Chavanel or Rein Taaramae, he might try again, he was unlucky on stage 11. Toms Skujins might like this stage too, he’s been riding very well and might be able to hang in there over the Nore, I thought he might go today but he didn’t get in the break, he might try again tomorrow.</p><p>Bahrain sent Gorka Izagirre up the road today, tomorrow could be the turn of his brother Ion who will like that last climb and try and distance his break companions before the descent and finish. And Movistar might send a man in break again, and it could be Marc Soler this time, he could well ride away from the break on that climb, he could be the best climber in the group.</p><p>Astana might send someone up the road too, seeing as Fuglsang’s GC challenge is waning, Omar Fraile took today’s stage in style, maybe instead Tanel Kangert or Michael Valgren could go again, they both have been on the attack and Valgren was great on Stage 11, just faded near the end. He might be able to cope better with this stage and could attack away on the way to the finish. The team will be buzzing now and the pressure is off, we might see more of them for the rest of this race.</p><p> </p><h2>Selections (odds <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4702&book=Bet365" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">from Bet365</a>)</h2><p><em>0.5pts</em><em> win on Tomasz Marczynski</em></p><p><em>0.5pts</em><em> win on Marc Soler</em></p><p><em>0.4pts</em><em> win on Michael Valgren</em></p><p><em>0.4pts</em><em> win on Pawel Poljanski</em></p><p><em>0.4pts</em><em> win on Ion Izagirre</em></p>