Video: Chris Boardman's Tour preview - stages 15-17

Race boils down to epic showdown in Pyrenees

It must be a strange time for the leaders of the Tour de France, so far into the race that they can barely remember the start but not quite close enough to the finish that they can start to dream about victory.

Stage 15

There's still plenty of hard work to come and that work starts with stage 15 and the road from Samatan to Pau. There's nothing in the 158.5km parcours that should unduly worry the leaders but the relatively short distance and aggressively rolling terrain may mean they're thankful for the rest day before stage 16.

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Stage 16

The Queen stage of this year's Tour sees riders tackle 197km of hell from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon. Climbs of the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde will test the legs of the leaders, but it's the descent of the final mountain pass that may have a dramatic effect on GC and will surely light up the eyes of a daredevil descender like Vincenzo Nibali. 

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Stage 17

The final day in the mountains is only the third summit finish of this year's race and, with its short 143.5km distance, should suit a climber like Pierre Rolland with little to play for overall. The Team Sky train will again look to dictate the pace on the final climb and discourage attacks from its GC rivals Nibali, Evans and Van den Broeck.

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