Stage 19 :: Friday July 24, 2009
178km :: Bourgoin-Jallieu - Aubenas
First a pair of Saint Bernards, then 5 rated climbs, then a 40k time trial with what proved to be a nastyCat.3 climb with a goofy name. I think we can cut the organizers some slack for putting in a transitional stage before Ventoux.
If there are any fireworks that will be had on this stage, I suspect it will involve children that have recently been to the local Indian reservation after getting their Friday allowance. Wait. Do they have Res' in France? They don't? Well, where the hell do they get fireworks and cheap Gauloises then?
That's Crazy Talk!
Gavia is freshly back from spending the morning wishing it was still May... what you got for us Gavs?
The Tour heads south into the Dauphiné region of France with this hilly stage. Watch for the iconic sunflower photos to show up after this stage, as the Tour heads into warm and sunlit Provence. The race begins in Bourgoin-Jaillieu, passes over three categorized climbs, and finishes in Aubenas. The final climb, the category 2 Col de l’Escrinet, summits 16 kilometers from the finish, and offers an opportunity for an escape to survive to the finish. This stage should end in a breakaway victory, though a determined, or desperate, general classification rider could have a go on the final climb.
Bourguin-Jaillieu last served as a start town in 1962. Jacques Anquetil won the stage, a 68 kilometer time trial from Bourguin-Jaillieu to Lyon. Raymond Poulidor finished five minutes slower than Anquetil, and Joseph Planckaert, who began the day in the Yellow Jersey, finished six minutes behind the winner. Anquetil also won the overall that year, his second of five Tour de France victories.
The Tour de France last visited Aubenas in 1966 for a road stage which departed from Montpellier. Johann de Roo won the stage that day, while Karl-Heinz Kunde wore the Yellow Jersey. Lucien Aimar eventually wore the Yellow Jersey into Paris that year, after joining a long breakaway early in the race. His team leader Jacques Anquetil decided to ride in Aimar’s support in part to deny his rival Raymond Poulidor a much-desired overall victory.
Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 19 Preview at Steephill.tv
While many possibilities come to mind, I'd like to see Thor in another breakaway. I have a certain graphic that involves Thor and a Chicken that needs to come out and play again.
I think the prettiest name of any town the Tour has gone through this year is on this stage: Étoile-sur-Rhône (take that Bluffy!). Coincidentally, shortly after passing through Étoile-sur-Rhône, the Cat.2 climb to Col de l'Escrinet appears once the riders finish up with the intermediate sprint at St-Julien-en-St-Alban (sounds progressive). The climb is 14km long averaging 4.1% gradient while presenting 577m in elevation gain. Of course, if you look at the official "Profil de l'étape", you'd think they were climbing Mont Blanc.
The finish is fairly straight forward, a couple of turns but no nasty stretches. The group won't contest the sprint in full though so even if it was a goat path it probably wouldn't be dangerous. The "dernier kilometer" guide says that they past over the Aubenas bridge (Pont d'Aubenas) 212m before the line. Might be a pretty way to end the last transition stage of the 2009 Tour de France.