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2020 Tour de France stage 19 preview

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(Image credit: ASO)
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(Image credit: ASO)

Stage 19: Bourg-en-Bresse - Champagnole

Date: September 18, 2020 

Distance: 166.5km 

Stage start: 1:30 p.m. CEST

Stage type: Hilly

A rolling and transitional stage to Champagnole brings the race north with a chance to take stock after the Alps and prepare for one last hard day. It has been one of the most complicated routes in the last 117 years of the Tour de France.

The peloton will enjoy a rare moment of respite, even if it does come with two days to go until Paris. Bourg-en-Bresse has hosted several Tour de France stage starts in recent years. In 2016, the race went to Culoz, where breakaway riders Jarlinson Pantano and Rafal Majka battled it out for the stage win. In 2014, the riders left Bourg-en-Bresse for Saint-Étienne and Alexander Kristoff outsprinted Peter Sagan and Arnaud Démare. This year the race heads north for the small town of Champagnole on the River Ain. Champagnole makes its second appearance as a stage finish, the first was in 1937 when Belgian Sylvère Maes won the stage. 

Going from Bourg-en-Bresse to Champagnole, the 19th stage of the 2020 Tour skirts the foothills of the Jura mountains without ever quite hitting the real climbs.Though there is only one classified ascent, the profile undulates between 250 and 800m altitude and it’s another very hard easy day for the peloton.

To most GC riders, this is a chance to absorb the hard lessons of the previous two and a half weeks, and gather themselves for one last crucial stage on the Saturday, while the break, and possibly the sprinters, focus on their own last chances. Give the sprinters their due, if they can get through the very rolling terrain of this stage, they will deserve their opportunity to win. But it’s likely that a big break will go while the GC riders try and rest their legs for the time trial and the sprinters look further ahead to the Champs-Élysées.

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