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Tour de France 2022 - Stage 16 preview

Stage 16: Carcassonne to Foix

Date: July 19, 2022

Distance: 178.5km

Stage timing: 12:30 - 16:58 CEST

Stage type: Hilly

The peloton will head for the Pyrénées from Carcassonne after spending the final rest day in the city with its famous medieval citadel. The first Pyrénées stage finishes in Foix instead of atop a mountain, but with two category-one passes, it must not be underestimated.

The first 100km are relatively easy – neither the fourth-category Côte de Saint-Hilaire nor the third-category Col de l'Espinas should trouble the GC contenders, but they serve as excellent springboards for a breakaway. The break may even include some sprinters fighting for the green jersey who want to pick up points at the intermediate sprint in Lavelanet.

After 90km, the riders pass within ten kilometres of the finish line, but they still face a big loop through the Pyrénées. The 11.4-kilometre, 7% Port de Lers has a 10.3% ramp on the second kilometre of climbing and another kilometre at 9.1% 2.5km from the top. Most of the rest of the climb is between 6 and 8%.

A 17-kilometre descent takes riders to Massat where the Mur de Péguère starts. The first six of its 9.3 kilometres are deceptively easy at 5.5-6.6%, including a stretch at only 2.8%. But the last 3.5 kilometres are brutal with an average gradient of more than 12% and sections at 16 and 18%.

The 27-kilometre descent to the finish should enable dropped riders to get back on. A small group of escapees will probably contest the stage win; GC action on the Mur de Péguère is likely, but it remains to be seen how much of an advantage the attackers can take to the finish.

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

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