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Vuelta Stage 10 Preview: Pau-ment of Truth?

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French city reprises its Tour de France role with a time trial

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2019 Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images

Stage 10: Jurançon - Pau, 36km ITT

Whoa, the Vuelta is in France? Does this happen? I cannot honestly remember the Vuelta crossing the border, let alone staging a key stage on the other side of it. But that’s what is happening Tuesday, as the race’s only individual time trial will run from Jurançon to the Tour de France’s most-used non-Paris locale, Pau, where the Grand Boucle stages is Pyrenean phase every year.

What Is It?

As time trials go, a pretty standard affair. It’s just under the Olympian 40km distance (which I think is a thing? No matter), and it’s got a few of the usual features but not much more than a little of this and a little of that.

Vuelta stage 10 profile
Vuelta stage 10 map

For once, the profile seems to undersell the technical nature of this stage. The altitude changes aren’t significant, but each of the notable uphills or downhills shows up on the map as involving switchbacks, so it’s not likely anything to sneeze at. That said, the first 24km may be undulating, but the last 12 are board-flat, and should look a lot like your standard ITT. It’s like tacking a prologue on the end of a semi-hilly 24km ITT.

What it won’t totally look like is the time trial that happened in and out of Pau about a month and a half ago at the Tour. That one went straight south and kept east of today’s route. I don’t know enough about Greater Pau but I’m going to assume that the terrain is consistent whether you’re due south of Pau or southwest of it. So maybe it won’t be all that different, but the details aren’t the same.

Whom Does it Favor?

Pretty clearly, a reversal of the top two on GC. Primoz Roglic has three wins and a second place against the watch this season alone, including two wins at the Giro. Nairo Quintana is the worst time triallist in Colombian cycling history. OK, that’s not really true, but Quintana’s record is a mix of meh and gah!, with more of the latter as time goes on. Roglic trails Quintana by a mere six seconds, which he can reverse by the time he disappears from sight from the start house.

On the individual level, the more obvious names aren’t here, so it’s anyone’s guess. Roglic is probably the most decorated time trialler around, so he could well be in for a double success. Alejandro Valverde could move up the board a bit if he’s feeling rested.

Pick to Win

Roglic. Too easy. Why fight it?