Coming off the individual time trial, Stage 14 of the 2019 Tour de France features the race’s first high altitude finish
Stage 14: Tarbes – Col du Tourmalet
Date: July 20, 2019
Distance: 117.5 km
Stage type: Mountain
At just 117km, the stage is very short, but includes two major ascents. From the start in Tarbes, the opening kilometres should be frenetic, as the GC teams look to place riders in the break who can support their leaders on the final ascent, while other teams want to have riders in it who might have a shot at the stage win, assuming the big guns are more focused on each other than what’s happening ahead of them.
The Parcours follows an anti-clockwise loop around Lourdes to reach Ferrières and the foot of the first-category climb of the Col du Soulor, 12 kilometres of ascent and then 19 of descent to Argelès-Gazost. The road starts to rise again as it tracks the rushing waters of the Gave de Gavarnie to reach Luz-Saint-Sauveur, where the 19km ascent of the Tourmalet begins. It rises steadily for the most part, but kicks up more steeply over the last three kilometres above the ski resort of Super Barèges.
Bearing in mind the high-altitude tests that are included in the Tour’s final week, it will be interesting to note the riders who look most at ease and those who struggle in those closing kilometres. Naturally, the Colombians are expected to thrive, and Nairo Quintana will undoubtedly have to if he is to shake off the nearly-man tag and capture the yellow jersey to complete a set Grand Tour titles.