Designating the Queens Ride in the Tour de France is not an easy task. There are no hard criteria and you can study the profiles of different mountain stages for so long with a group of specialists or enthusiasts, difference of opinion will always be there.
Anyway, the fifteenth stage will compete for the title of queen stage of the 107th Tour. In the last 76 kilometres, the riders will face two climbs of the first category, followed by a final climb of the outdoor category, the Grand Colombier.
Will Roglic win again?
Never before did a Tour stage finish on top of the climb in the Jura where watt-rider Primoz Roglic won another stage in the Tour of Ain last month. Well know whether hes able to repeat that trick by 5.30pm.
Although most of the spectacle is expected on the final climb, course builder Thierry Gouvenou also asks attention for the first climb. In the last kilometres of the Montée de la Selle de Fromentel (first category), the riders encounter a strip with a gradient of 22.
Gouvenou speaks of perhaps the toughest climbing kilometres in all of France. And that is only the beginning.
After more than eleven kilometres of climbing there is a descent of about ten kilometres before the next climb, the Col de la Biche (first category) of about seven kilometres. The last col, the Grand Colombier, is 17.4 kilometres long and has a gradient of 7.1.
Tourists sent away
On the Grand Colombier, there would normally be thousands of tourists cheering for the riders. They will not be there this afternoon, because the French police have ordered all cycling fans to leave the mountain.
“We are standing comfortably in the open air here with not so many people, so we are not going to the finish line to hang out en bloc on the road. Its an ugly line through the bill actually“
“There is a whole, I would almost say, battalion of gendarmes descending the slope. If you dont leave, youll be fined. I have the impression that most gendarmes arent very happy about it, but command is command”
Watch the interview with the tourist below:
Primoz Roglic defends a 44 second lead over Tadej Pogacar in the general classification.
This is followed by four Colombians: Egan Bernal, Rigoberto Urán, Nairo Quintana and Miguel Ángel López. Tom Dumoulin is twelfth out of 4.32 of his teammate.
The Grand Colombier was climbed for the first time in 2012 in the Tour de France, just like in 2016 and 2017. Three years ago Urán won an unadulterated millimetre sprint by Warren Barguil.
In his daily column today Herman van der Zandt tells the story of Urán and Iván Darío Jiménez, a chrysanthemum grower who just stuck in his wheel.