Tour de France 2015 Stage 15 preview: Mende - Valence, 183 km

Surely the sprinters won’t let this one pass by, especially if Rodez, two days ago, didn’t work out for them. This is definitely their last chance for a bunch sprint until Paris, with the Alps in the offing.

Perhaps the presence of the Col de l’Escrinet, two thirds of the way through the stage, is an omen. The Tour tackled this second-category ascent just before the finish in Aubenas (also the site of today’s bonus sprint) in 2009, and Mark Cavendish shocked the cycling world by staying with the leaders over the top of the long but well surfaced and steady climb, then easily winning the sprint. This year, they’re going in the opposite direction over the climb, but even if it’s a little harder from the south west side than the east, there are 60 kilometres to the finish line in Valence – enough time to chase down breaks and engineer a bunch kick.

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