The 2023 Tour de France heads into its final weekend with a lumpy ride across the Jura mountain region for stage 19 of the race.
On paper it could be one for the sprinters but there will be plenty of tired legs among the peloton at this stage. Here, we examine the route and suggest a couple of bets for the stage.
The 173.4km route from Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny starts, as its name suggests, with some hilly terrain. After 23km into the ride, the peloton will tackle the fourth category Cote du Bois de Lionge.
There are no more categorised climbs until 30km from the finish, when they ascend Cote d’Ivory, a third category climb. That could see the peloton thin out a bit before a steep descent into an 8km dead straight run-in with a slightly uphill finish into Poligny.
Whoever crosses the line in front will make a little bit of history, as no Tour stage has ever finished in the town before, and it could be worth betting that sprint king Jasper Philipsen is the man to do it.
The Belgian has a firm grip on the green jersey after four stage wins already, and he still looks to have plenty in the tank yet.
The breakaway of four riders managed to stay ahead by the narrowest of margins in stage 18’s finish, but the bunch who narrowly failed to swallow them up was headed over the line by Philipsen.
Kasper Asgreen took the honours on stage 18, becoming the third Danish rider to win a stage this year, but the main Dane Jonas Vingegaard only needs to stay upright to repeat last year’s yellow jersey triumph.
The success of the breakaway might tempt a few more to go stage hunting on 19, although the long run-in should help the peloton reel them in.
A stage like this could have set up for puncheur Wout van Aert but the Jumbo-Visma rider abandoned the Tour due to the imminent birth of his child. The Belgian, a team-mate of Vingegaard, finished second on two stages this year.
With the likes of Fabio Jakobsen, Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish already out, the opposition to Philipsen could be thin on the ground but if anyone is going to stop the Belgian it could be Mads Pedersen.
The third of the Danish trio to have tasted stage glory this year, Pedersen outbattled Philipsen to win stage eight which, like this test, featured a slightly uphill run-in.
The 27-year-old also won a stage last year and was just behind a determined Philipsen as the bunch dashed for line on stage 18.