Today will terrify the GC guys and they'll be desperate to get to the rest day after, writes Jack Houghton, who thinks that Aru is vulnerable again and that Pantano can rediscover his form of last year...
"Fabio Aru showed himself vulnerable on Stage 14 and is unlikely to trouble the stage winner's podium here..."
What's the stage like?
Unfamiliar to most spectators and riders, crossing parts of France rarely visited by the Tour. Much of the stage is at altitude, rolling up-and-down around 1,000m, with four categorised climbs, including the Category One Col de Peyra Taillade which comes 30km from the finish. The roads are narrow and steep on that climb, and its followed by the similarly steep and narrow Category Four Cote de Saint-Vidal less than 15km out. There are lots of chances for opportunistic teams and riders to bid for glory.
Who are the favourites?
It's another stage that is a toss-up between the best breakaway riders and the General Classification guys. Of the possible baradeurs, Steve Cummings is always a likely candidate, but, despite clearly being in great form, things haven't gone his way in this year's Tour, so the [10.00] looks a little short.
I prefer Jarlinson Pantano at the much more speculative [40.00]. He repeatedly rode aggressively in last year's race, picking up a stage and two combativity awards. He's been glued to Contador as his loyal lieutenant this year, and so hasn't been seen much. If the team management are prepared to give him his head, this is his kind of stage.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Any number of those in the hunt for the Yellow Jersey, although Fabio Aru showed himself vulnerable on Stage 14 and is unlikely to trouble the stage winner's podium here.
Others include Lillian Calmejane at around [18.00] and Primoz Logic, who I highlighted at the start of Tour, but has been relatively quiet. He's trading around [30.00] and wouldn't be a huge shock if he won.
What effect will the stage have on the overall markets?
Any General Classification riders getting into trouble might struggle on this stage: a fragmented peloton and impassable roads will mean a long wait for the team car should disaster befall any of them. It could be Aru. And with the rest day to follow, it might be a stage where an enterprising rider attempts a dramatic coup d'etat on the Yellow Jersey.
*Odds are recommended, based on advertised prices at the time of writing.