Tour de France stage 13 preview

Stage 13 falls on Bastille Day this year and marks the start of three thrilling days in the mountains. The stage begins in Châtillon-Sur-Chalaronne, with riders expected to launch attacks immediately to secure a spot in the breakaway.
French teams are incredibly motivated to win the stage on Bastille Day, and this opportunity adds an extra level of excitement. The Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates teams, representing the top contenders Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, will determine how much of a lead they'll allow the breakaway to build. If the breakaway is given too much freedom, we'll witness two exciting races: one for the stage victory and another for the overall Tour win.
The demanding nature of Stage 12 and the even more challenging upcoming stages might encourage Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates to conserve energy and let the breakaway go. However, Stage 13 is shorter than Stage 9, with no categorized climbs except for the ascent to Hauteville-Lompnes. After that, the riders descend to Culoz before facing the final climb up the Grand Colombier.
The Grand Colombier has multiple routes and local cyclists organize the "Bugey Pyramid" ride, which covers all of them. In 2020, the Tour used the Grand Colombier as a summit finish, and Tadej Pogačar emerged victorious. The climb is tough, spanning 17.4 kilometers with an average gradient of 7.1 percent, including sections as steep as 12 percent.
In prior years, attacks on the Grand Colombier happened towards the finish, but this year's stage is shorter and less challenging. The fresher contenders like Vingegaard and Pogačar might attack each other further down the mountain to gain more significant time gaps.
Warren Barguil from France and Mike Woods from Canada are potential contenders if a breakaway succeeds. However, if the race regroups or a small group of General Classification riders catches the breakaway on the lower slopes of the Grand Colombier, Vingegaard and Pogačar are the likely favorites to win the stage.