TDF 2019 – Stage 21
Rambouillet to Paris
Sunday 28th July, 127kms
Caleb Ewan has two stages, Viviani, Sagan, and Groenewegen have one each. So who’s going to take this one? Can Ewan take a hat-trick of wins? He is certainly the rider in form and is full of confidence and a great lead out that will get him in the right place.. But can he finish it off on the cobbles? Viviani is desperate for a stage win, and now that Alaphilippe has lost the race the full team will be back behind Viviani’s bid to end the race on a high.
The usual procession into Paris, a short run of just 127kms, 55kms of which are doing the laps around the Champs. All you need to know really is that you need to be in the first 10 coming in to that final chicane and right turn on to the finishing straight, but you don’t necessarily have to be in the first three, you can still come from 4th or 5th place in the last 200m like Greipel and Kittel have done in the past
Contenders and Favourites
Caleb Ewan – the man with the confidence, the man with the speed, the man with two stage wins and the ability to come from 7th place with 250m to go to win by a bike length. The man with a whole team behind him that will work their asses off in the last 5kms to get him on the wheel of the DQS lead-out going through that last bend and on to the finishing straight where he will kick for the win.
But – he is very light.. It worked against him in the uphill, bumpy sprint in stage 4 though, his back wheel was bouncing all over the place and he couldn’t get the traction down. Kelly, Wiggins and Smith all raised this point on Eurosport last week, they were worried about it too. But – Groenewegen is just 3kgs heavier, and he’s won on the Champs. Mark Cavendish is also 70kgs like Groenewegen and he won four times on the Champs Elysées. If he can sprint as fast as he did on stage 16 though, it might not matter how much he bounces around he could still win.
Elia Viviani will now have the whole team behind him again, with Alaphilippe likely to take a massive pull for him in return for all the work Viviani has done for Alap in the last 3 weeks. The entire team will be pulling in the last 5kms, and Richeze and Morkov are two of the best on a finish like this, will lead through that final bend, with Viviani in 3rd wheel and he will be released with 250m to go.
Dylan Groenewegen though has been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, having won this impressively in 2017. Jumbo though are now down Tony Martin and put a huge effort in today to pull SK on to the podium, so I’m not sure what sort of lead-out he will have. For that reason, I’m avoiding him.
Peter Sagan will probably be 4th again if one of the sprinters finally has an off-day he may even take a top 3 spot. Alexander Kristoff also is a former winner here, winning with superb power last year, beasting it up the finishing straight. He has been hiding away for the last few days, dragging himself over the climbs, and he could be a big danger tomorrow too at a big price.
Hard to see any of the others getting involved again, Colbrelli and Matthews just aren’t fast enough.
So all down to the last sprint, one last effort – and I think we could be looking at another stage win for Caleb Ewan, I think the team will be the best in the finale, and he has the speed. Alex Kristoff could come close too at a decent price.