STAGE 12: Tonnerre – Vittel
Thursday, July 16
WHAT’S THE COURSE LIKE?
Today’s stage is a bit lumpier than yesterday’s as the race heads eastwards through vineyard country to Vittel, a town made famous for its mineral water.
It’s another transition stage before the race heads into the Vosges mountains, and later, the Alps.
There are six categorised climbs along the route; they are only minor climbs, but with the Alps looming over the peloton it may be a day for a breakaway. Just like a casino, the sprinters’ teams don’t win every time.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?
With so many categorised climbs dotted along the way today, as well as some that are not categorised, the odds looked stacked in the favour of the breakaway specialists.
The roads are predominantly twisty back roads, which could also suit a break’s chances. The French missed out on Bastille Day, but have had a good Tour so far this year with three stage wins so will be looking to capitalise again today.
With some really tough days in the mountains approaching, the likelihood is the peloton will treat today’s stage as a de facto rest day and allow the break some leeway. Cavendish said yesterday that only one other stage interests him in this year’s race, the Champs Elysées, but don’t discount him if it does all come back together.
MEN TO WATCH
Sylvain Chavanel – The Frenchman has kept an uncharacteristically low profile so far this year. Could he be saving up for something spectacular?
Jérôme Pineau – the Quick Step man has a string of top ten results to his name in the Tour, his best being a second place in 2002. The rolling profile suits his attacking style.
Mikhail Ignatiev – The Russian Katusha rider has been in almost every break of note so far. A strong all-rounder, he’ll like today’s route.
CW’S TIP TO WIN
Sylvain Chavanel – we’ve picked Chavanel as our tip to win before, and so far, he hasn’t come up with the goods. Today could be his lucky day.
WHO’S WEARING THE JERSEYS?
Yellow – Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale)
Green – Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC)
Polka-dot – Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
White – Tony Martin (Columbia-HTC)
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