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Tour de France: Riders to be gridded F1-style on Stage 17 (video explainer)

Joseph Delves
25 Jul 2018

Stage 17 will see riders lining up in GC order ahead of a 65 km mountain-sprint stage

Looking to build excitement, Tour de France organiser ASO will be gridding riders at the start of the race’s penultimate mountain stage in Bagnères-de-Luchon. At the foot of the Col de Peyresourde, with a narrow start, this should allow the leaders of the race to choose whether to attack from the off or wait for their teammates to filter through and support them.

The move further builds on the recent trend for short, punchy mountain stages. At 65km and with three high peaks, Stage 17 certainly fits the bill.

The grid system

Explaining the idea to the riders the race handbook states that 'Riders shall be positioned in the same order as the General Classification after the previous stage.

'They shall be distributed into five different groups. The first 20 in the GC shall be included in the first group in offset rows with the wearer of the yellow jersey in first place.

'Riders shall then position themselves freely in the other groups corresponding to their places in the General Classification.’

The riders towards the back won’t be delayed in departing, but with the stage starting on the slopes of the first climb anyone toward the back will struggle to force their way to the front.

This will likely provide a significant benefit to any GC hopefuls who still have teammates high up the rankings. Hoping to shake up the racing, of course, the teams could collectively decide to soft-pedal the start.

Still with the Montée de Peyragudes, Col de Val Louron-Azet, and Col de Portet providing plenty of climbing the rest of the stage designed to suit racing from the off.

Stage 17 of the 2018 Tour de France takes place on Wednesday 25th July, covering 65 km from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan.

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