A huge summit finish on the mountain pass on the Col de la Loze should pose a huge test to General Classification leader Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma), with his Slovenian compatriot Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) hot on his heels.
However, Eurosport expert Brian Smith, speaking on the latest episode of the Bradley Wiggins Show, expects Pogacar to attack, but to attack late for fear of cracking.
“Pogacar is worried about whether he cracks himself,” said Smith.
“I think he will be a wee bit worried and it will be as late an attack as possible.”
Smith, former general manager of MTN–Qhubeka, went further, questioning the wisdom of Pogacar riding into yellow with four days of racing left.
“If he takes the yellow jersey now, how can he control it? Because they don’t have the team to be able to control it,” added Smith.
“If I was [UAE Team Emirates DS] Allan Peiper I would say: ‘Try to get seconds back’. If he can get within 20 seconds going into that final time trial, as Slovenian champion, anything is up for grabs.
“I know the course really suits Roglic but anything can happen at a time trial at the end of a three-week tour. I think they have to get as close to Roglic as possible and hope that they can do something in the time trial.”
Elsewhere, the pair discuss Stage 16 winner and former junior world time trial champion Lennard Kamna’s decision to take a six-month break from the sport and his emergence as the standard bearer for other young riders.
Stage 16 highlights - Breakaway success for Kamna as Pogacar and Roglic duke it out