Tour de France 2013 stage 14
Saturday, July 13
Stage type Hilly
IMPACT ON THE RACE
Yellow jersey 1/5
Green jersey 5/5
Polka-dot jersey 0/5
WHERE ARE WE?
After the cultivated plains of northern France, the countryside today starts to roll a little bit more as the stage grazes the very northern reaches of the Massif Central.
The start town, St Pourcain-sur-Sioule, is one of France’s best-kept secrets – the wine produced there is renowned as being the best non-appellation d’origine contrôlée wine in France. Lyon is France’s second-largest city after Paris, and is a centre for gastronomy, which makes it fine by us. It was on the original Tour de France route, and also featured in the centenary Tour in 2003.
WHAT’S ON THE ROUTE?
A few undulations will interrupt the rhythm of the peloton today, but the overall trend is flat and rolling roads. We’re at the transition point between the cultivated, flat north and the wilder, hillier south of the country. This stage also lies at the transition point between the controlled, flat stages and the less controlled hilly ones. Which tendency will win out today?
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?
Given that this is the last stage guaranteed to finish in a sprint until Paris, the sprinters will be especially motivated to go out with a bang. But the chase will probably be the most tricky and least controlled of the entire race.
The Tour is best when there is intrigue, not predictability – hopefully this stage will be evidence of that.