Roanne-Montluçon, 165.5km

What will happen?
It’s another lumpy stage today, with two categorised climbs early on, then flattening off towards the finish. Again, it’s probably too hilly for the tired sprinters’ teams to orchestrate a bunch gallop into Montluçon. They’ll save that for Sunday’s final parade into Paris.

Instead we should see another break go clear, gain ten minutes by the time the second categorised climb passes and head all the way into Montluçon largely unchallenged.

The overall contenders will be hiding safely in the bunch, trying to keep out of trouble and conserve every ounce of energy for tomorrow’s decisive individual time trial.

What are the climbs like?
The Third category La Croix du Sud and fourth category Cote de la Croix Rouge both appear in the first 30km of the stage, so are unlikely to play any sort of role in the overall outcome – other than let a break build up a bit of time on the bunch.

Will Sastre stay in yellow?
Yes, definitely. There’s no opportunity for any of the Spaniard’s rivals to put any time into him today. Tomorrow is a very, very different matter…

Who’s wearing the jerseys?
Yellow
Carlos Sastre (CSC)
Green Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Polka-dot Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)
White Andy Schleck (CSC)

CW’s tip for the win
It’s going to be another rider low down on GC who’ll prevail in today’s break: which will probably be made up of two Frenchman, a Spaniard and one other. We picked Belgian Philippe Gilbert for the win yesterday and he crashed early on, ruining his chances. We’re going to pick him again today because he’s definitely got a stage win in him and he’s looking for a Tour victory for his FDJeux squad before joining Silence-Lotto next year. A lazy and frankly desperate choice for today’s win. Come on Philippe, make us look good!

RELATED LINK
Stage 19 info: map, profile and fact file



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 18: Burghardt shows that Columbia can win without Cav
Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead
Stage 16: Dessel wins
Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps
Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains
Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Schlecks’ father’s car searched
Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]
Schleck promises to attack main rivals
Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]
Rest day news round-up [July 21]
Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”
Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour
Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]
Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today
Cavendish pulls out of the Tour
Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship
Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 18
Stage 17
Stage 15
Stage 14
Stage 13
Stage 12
Stage 11
Stage 11
Stage 10
Stage nine
Stage eight
Stage seven
Stage six
Stage five
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five
Life at the Tour part four
Life at the Tour part three
Life at the Tour part two
Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
Teams and riders>>
About the Tour>>