TDF 2021: Stage 14, Carcassonne > Quillan 183.7 km **Spoilers**
Stage 14, Carcassonne > Quillan 183.7 km10-7-2021
Stage 14 of the Tour heads into the Pyrenees, but avoids all the major climbs, on a hilly, rather than mountainous course. Heading out from Carcassone in a South Westerly direction through the Ariège to the small town of Lavelanet. The race then changes direction towards the East, where the climbing begins. Finally the race turns back upon itself to arrive at the finishing town of Quillan.
The first half of the 184 kilometres long race from Carcassonne to Quillan is predominantly flat. There are however five climbs peppered along the remainder of the route, all either second or third category. The final climb is a reasonable test, but tops out 17kms from the finish, most of it, downhill.
Following an undulating opening of the race – with the Col de Bac standing out: 3.1 kilometres at 5.3% – the real uphill action begins after 85 kilometres.
The most likely scenario will see the sprinter team sits back after the last few days of hostilities while the GC riders opt for a calm day given what’s ahead of them in the coming days. A successful breakaway is on the cards, which could be decided by the final climb of the stage, as it will provide the perfect launch pad for the remnants of the break to attack each other before the final descent to the line.
Favourites stage 14 Tour de France 2021
***** Ion Izagirre, Patrick Konrad
**** Jakob Fuglsang, Matej Mohoric, Bauke Mollema
*** Benoît Cosnefroy, Kasper Asgreen, Michael Woods, Magnus Cort
** Vincenzo Nibali, Michael Matthews, Rui Costa
* Valentin Madouas, Simon Clarke, Marc Hirschi
On the road
Mérens Horse National Days.
The Mérens horse, originally from the Upper Ariège Valley, presents an astonishing morphological convergence with the Magdalenian horses (13,000 years old) represented in the Niaux cave. The Mérens is a black-coated horse of medium height.
Specialities: Bethmale (cheese), Flocons d'Ariège (confectionery), Azinat (type of garbure), Mounjetado (mountain cassoulet), hypocras (medieval aperitif)
Gorges of Saint-Georges
The Aude, from its source at Lake Aude, has eroded the limestone as it passes through the karstic bars of the Pyrenees, such as the Pierre-Lys gorges, but also the Saint-Georges gorges. This fault is 300 m long, 15 m wide at road level, with steep cliffs of over 150 m.
No previous stage
Quillan revealed itself to the French sporting world in 1929, when its rugby union club became French champions after having already played the final of the event the previous year. US Quillan had been fashioned from scratch by industrial hatter Jean Bourrel, who anticipated the era of professionalism by plundering internationals from other clubs to launch the first truly professional team in French rugby. This contested approach led the International Board to exclude France from international rugby during the 1930s.
If it is mainly rugby that has made Quillan famous sportwise, the Aude town is far from being a stranger to cycling. It hosted the Grand Prix du Midi-Libre six times between 1969 and 1993.
Festival of the flavours of the Aude Pyrenees
The aim of the "Saveurs Pyrénées Audoises" festival is first and foremost to promote and highlight the gastronomic wealth of the Aude Pyrenees region: mainly the upper valley of the Aude, and more widely the Pyrenees. This festival takes place every year at the end of September in Quillan and features more than 30 local producers who display their products for tasting and sale. Local star chefs present recipes cooked with those products.
"Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.