Beware of the Mistral!
The return to race action after a first rest day is comparatively easy with a stage that’s the quickest way out of the Alps—there’s simply no question of serving up 21 difficult stages at the Tour! In other words, this should be a stage for the sprinters—although a long-distance breakaway could survive. That said, over the last 15 kilometers, the route makes a half-circle that could expose the riders to crosswinds. The weather can change quickly in the Rhône Valley and if echelons form, a group could soon lose half a minute or more. We saw this happen on the 2017 stage into nearby Romans-sur-Isère, where some of the favorites were caught out.
After 4km on the streets of Valence, at the end of a flat 350m straight on the 21.5 feet wide Avenue de Romans.