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Tour de France 2021: Stage 14 preview

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Tour de France 2021 stage 14 profile map

(Image credit: ASO)
Image 2 of 2

Tour de France 2021 stage 14 profile map

(Image credit: ASO)

Stage 14: Carcassonne - Quillan

Date: July 10, 2021 

Distance: 183.7km

Stage timing: 12:15 - 16:48 CEDT

Stage type: Hills

Stage 14 preview video

This stage that winds through the foothills of the Pyrenees looks nailed on for a breakaway victory. There are five categorised climbs, all ranked second- or third-category. In other words, the terrain shouldn’t disturb the GC contenders too much, which will suit the escapees perfectly.

Rising steadily away from the start in Carcassonne, the riders follow a ridge that looks over the wide plain to the north. The first climb, the cat three Col du Bac, comes with 50km covered, by which point the break should be well clear of the peloton. The intermediate sprint arrives a couple of dozen kilometres later at Lavelanet.

Climbing gently away from this former textile centre, the next test is the short but steep climb of the second-cat Col de Montségur, which is overlooked by the imposing Cathar castle of the same name. From there, the race will drop to outskirts of Bélesta, then switch back on itself to tackle another second-category test, the Col de la Croix des Morts, a draggy ascent that’s the gateway to the Plateau de Sault.

The countryside is very open up here, but steep valleys cut through the plateau and the route tumbles into one of them to climb the acute ramps of the third-cat Côte de Galinagues. From here, the riders descend from the plateau and down to the Aude valley, going through the narrow passage of the spectacular Gorges de Saint Georges to reach Axat, turning eastwards soon after to Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes.

Here, a sharp turn leads towards the final test, the second-cat Col de Saint-Louis where the road to the summit has the peculiarity of crossing over itself via a surprising but very fetching viaduct.

From the crest of this final hill, 17km quite rapid kilometres remain into the finish at Quillan, where a solo winner or a sprint between a very small group is the most likely scenario.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).

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