a bump stopwatch, to the delight of Pogacar? The sixteenth stage in questions

The long-distance battle between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar restarts on Tuesday 18 July with a time trial (22.4 kilometres) in the heart of Haute-Savoie.

It’s the beginning of the end. The last week of the Tour begins on Tuesday 18 July, after a day of rest in the Alps. But there is no time to hesitate: the peloton is back on track with the only individual time trial scheduled this year, between Passy and Combloux ( Haute-Savoie). For some of the riders it will be a chance to turn their legs before heading back to the mountains on Wednesday. The day for the general candidates was quite different, on a route where the cost of the breakdown could be paid for in cash, despite the “only” 22.4 kilometers scheduled.

What is the profile?

Who says time often means blessed opportunity for the riders who usually serve their leaders to play their personal card. But in this very mountainous 2023 Tour, it will be necessary to appreciate the percentages to hope to shine on Tuesday in Haute-Savoie. The first kilometers will immediately set the tone with the Côte de la Cascade de Coeur, not included in the mountains classification, but which will offer a selective first raid.

After about ten kilometers downhill or flat between the two intermediate stages, this 16th stage will take on the Domancy coast, already taken in 2016 and 2021 by the Grande Boucle. The 2016 work could serve as an example to follow, seven years later, given that it was at the rendezvous of a short but tough time trial, between Sallanches and Megève. Christopher Froome had won, consolidating his yellow jersey. But this time it will be Domancy who acts as justice of the peace, in an infernal final: 2.5 kilometers at 9.4% then an arrival towards Combloux of two kilometers at more than 5%. It will therefore be necessary to hold some under the pedal until the line shines.

The profile of the 16th stage of the Tour de France 2023, time trial between Passy and Combloux (22.4km) (ASO)

Who are the favourites?

The temptation to name time exercise specialists like Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) or Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick-Step) is great. But the alpine profile, and the climber-friendly final six kilometres, should reserve victory for the more complete riders at the start. If he recovers from his efforts on Sunday, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) could have another opportunity to win his first stage this year. But it is once again the hand to hand between the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and his runner-up Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) to focus attention.

The two general leaders have so far played evenly in the mountains during the first two weeks. However, Pogacar could see the ribs of the day, short but dry, as an opportunity to recover the ten second gap from his Danish rival. But Vingegaard is one of the best time trial specialists of the moment, in the top 10 out of ten of the twelve individual times he has contested since 2021. And last year it was he who won the distance duel during the 20th stage.

The yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard, during the time trial between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour, during the 20th stage of the Tour de France, July 23, 2022. (DANIEL COLE/AP)

What are the hours?

12.58pm: start of the broadcast on France 3 and france.tv
13:05: first start (start every minute between the first and the 14th competitor, then every 1’30” between the 14th and the 142nd competitor, and every two minutes between the 142nd and the 157th competitor)
16:58: departure from Tadej Pogacar
17:00: departure from Jonas Vingegaard
5.36pm: Expected arrival

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