Tour de France: Kruijswijk and Roglic ready to launch final attack

LottoNL-Jumbo pair prepared to lay it on the line on stage 19

LottoNL-Jumbo have little to lose on stage 19 of the Tour de France on Friday. The Dutch team's two leaders – Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk – currently lie in fourth and sixth place overall, respectively, and will be doing everything possible to animate the race's last stage in the mountains in the hope of securing at least a place on the final podium in Paris.

The 200.5km stage starts in Lourdes and takes the riders over the Col d'Aspin, the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d'Aubisque before a descent off that last mountain to the finish in Laruns.

"It'll be a long and hard day," Kruijswijk said. "We have to race smartly instead of racing like it's all or nothing because from the Tourmalet it's still a long way to the finish. Or it must be an aggressive, fast race from the beginning. Then it'll be something else."

With Kruijswijk sixth overall and 4:19 down on race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), and Roglic even better placed in fourth at 2:47, the Dutch team has numbers to throw at the race – and, in Kruijswijk and Roglic, they have two riders in a position to really shake up the status quo.

"I expect some attacks on the Aubisque in particular. I feel good, fit and healthy, and we'll go for it," 31-year-old Kruijswijk said on his team's website after Thursday's relatively straightforward stage between Trie-sur-Baïse and Pau, won by Groupama-FDJ's Arnaud Démare in a bunch sprint.

"The team worked well for Primoz and me on Thursday", Kruijswijk added. "It was a day where we had to be attentive and race at the front of the peloton all day. The boys did a perfect job.

"It was mainly a matter of saving as much energy as possible with an eye on Friday's stage."

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