The second-last stage of the 2020 Tour de France promises to be a thrilling event as the riders push their tired legs in one last effort to improve their rankings in the individual time trial, a battle against the clock as much as each other.
By
SBS Cycling Central

19 Sep 2020 - 7:48 AM 

The GC fight will take centre stage once again, as young Slovenian Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) gets his final chance to close the 57 second gap between himself and fellow countryman, yellow jersey leader Primož Roglič.

With Roglič and his Jumbo-Visma teammates keeping the GC lead safe through to Stage 19, making up the ground will be a serious test for Pogačar, but the 21-year old is confident he can perform if his body can respond.

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"For tomorrow’s TT I did the recon and if I’m on a good day it’s a course that suits me well,” said Pogačar after Stage 19. “It’s the same hard effort for everybody so tactics won’t come into it too much.”

Roglič also acknowledged he will need to push through the fatigue barrier and perform strongly in order to cap off a stellar 2020 Tour, in which he has now held the yellow jersey for 11 consecutive stages.

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Advantage Roglič over Pogačar in battle for yellow
The summit finish of the Col de la Loze on Stage 17 of the Tour de France was as hard as expected, with the steep slopes and altitude coming into play as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) duelled it out for the yellow jersey.

“I have done a recon of the time trial several times," Roglič said. "This time trial is going to be a fair fight from man to man. I just have to push as hard as possible and ride as fast as possible, both on the flat and uphill. Besides you also have to have the legs for it."

"We will see what it brings tomorrow. I’m definitely looking forward to it. Now I will focus on my recovery first and then I will focus on tomorrow.”

Behind the top two, the battle for a podium spot will also feature fourth-placed Australian Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) as he attempts to cut into Miguel Angel Lopez's (Astana Pro Team) one minute and 39 second lead in third place. 

Lopez's inaugural Tour has been an impressive one, and the Colombian expressed his desire to continue to push himself in the time trial following Stage 19.

"We passed this day without troubles, and now I am looking forward to tomorrow’s individual time trial," Lopez said. "I am enjoying my first Tour de France so far and tomorrow I want to give my all for the best possible result."

Elsewhere in the race, the battle for the King of the Mountain jersey will also be key in Stage 20, as Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) will look to defend his slender two point lead on Pogačar, also second-place in that classification.

With 10 points available on the summit finish of the La Planche des Belles Filles, with the times that will decide the KOM being the time elapsed by each rider from the second time checkpoint to the finish line. The Ecuadorian has vowed to give his all to secure the title for best climber at the Tour.

“Tomorrow is going to be a key day for us,” Carapaz said after Stage 19. “I will try to defend the (KoM) title because that’s the most important thing."

"I am feeling good, and we are planning a time trial accordingly to try to get as many points as possible to maintain the jersey. We’ll do everything we can to get those necessary points to carry the jersey to Paris.”

The 2020 Tour de France continues with Stage 20's 36.2km individual time trial from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles, a race against time for Australian Richie Porte to find 99 seconds and the third step on the Paris podium. Watch on SBS HD and SBS On Demand from 8:30pm AEST and the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 8:50pm AEST.