2017 Tour de France: Stage 19 live race updates, blog

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    It could be a day for the breakaway at the Tour de France on Stage 19. (Jonathan Devich / Tour of Utah)

    Stage 19, which is also the longest of the Tour de France presents itself as the perfect opportunity for the breakaway, with a mainly flat 222.5-kilometre journey ahead of the peloton. Join The Roar for live coverage and updates from 10pm (AEST).

    With Chris Froome doing a solid job yesterday to hang onto yellow during the second alpine stage, it appears baring a disaster he has won his fourth Tour.

    Today’s stage shouldn’t pose too many threats, with only three Category 3 climbs on route and the time trial tomorrow on Stage 20 before the flat run into Paris should play right into his hands.

    Stage 19 gets underway in Embrun and tracks south through the Alpes-de-Haute Provence before tracking over into the Vaucluse department.

    The day starts off at over 700 metres above sea level and after 20 kilometres of undulating terrain, the riders will reach the Category 3 Col Lebraut. It is 4.7 kilometres at 6 per cent, with the 2.3-kilometre Côte de Bréziers following soon after.

    The summit of that climb is reached at 43 kilometres, but after a short and sharp downhill, the race will kick uphill for a few more kilometres. From there, it’s a long, gradual descent back down to just 450 metres above sea level.

    This deep into the Tour, every little uphill rise is going to hurt and so it’ll be another strong man’s breakaway. The formation of the breakaway will be hotly contested today – with no intrigue left for the green or polka dot jersey, it could well be a day for them.

    The sprinters teams are likely to let them go – Andre Greipel and Lotto-Soudal, along with Nacer Bouhanni and his Cofidis team are still searching for a win, but are likely to keep the powder dry for Stage 21 and the ride into Paris.

    Simply put, there won’t be the power, want or will in the peloton to chase the breakaway down, who have been kept in check for much of the Tour.

    The intermediate sprint comes after some more undulations in Banon with 86 kilometres to go, before the final Category 3 climb of the day – the Col du Pointu – is reached with 45 kilometres remaining.

    Following a descent, it’s then a gradual downhill run all the way into the finish line, with the last kilometre following that trajectory. That being said, it won’t matter who comes to the line first, it should be a fast sprint.

    Prediction
    The breakaway are going to win today’s stage. Plenty of teams are still searching for a stage win, but in particular watch out for Daryl Impey, a host of FDJ, UAE or Bahrain-Merida riders, and any of the wildcard teams with Dion Smith of Wanty-Groupe and Maxime Bouet of Fortuneo headlining the cause.

    If it does come to a sprint, then Andre Greipel should finally notch a stage win – but that seems unlikely.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 19 from 10pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.