When Thursday July 17
Category Medium mountains
Where are we?
The route actually heads inland towards Saint-Etienne in the Massif Central, 50km south west of Lyon. But don’t be fooled. This is the calm before the storm, a day away from swinging back east and into the mountains.
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What’s on the route?
Just like on stage 11, four smaller climbs — two category-three and two category-four — help break up the stage. This will again entice those looking for KoM points to mount a breakaway, with the secondary goal of staying away until the finish.
What might happen?
This is an extremely similar route to stage 11, with a category-four climb placed as a potential stumbling block for the sprinters with just over 20km to go. But, then again, if the sprinters’ teams are hungry enough, they’ll be willing to drag their main men over the final climb to enable them to have a crack at adding to their points-jersey tally, and ideally to take the stage win.
If you’re there
Stop off at the spectacular Grottes du Cerdon caves, which are actual caves, not wine caves.
We’re teasingly skirting the Alps, frolicking in its foothills.