Saturday, 12 July 2014
2014 Tour de France: first hilltop finish – Tomblaine to Gérardmer La Mauselaine
Today's stage from Tomblaine to Gérardmer La Mauselaine is the first to feature a hill-top finish. It is also the first stage since Stage 2 in Yorkshire to include some serious hills. This time the climbs are all concentrated within the last 28 kilometres – with two 2 Category climbs (Col de la Croix des Moinats - 7.6 km@6% and Col de la Gros Pierre 3 email@example.com%) followed by the Category 3 La Mauselaine 1.8 firstname.lastname@example.org% scramble to the finish.
Very often the abrupt transition from days of riding on the flat to the first climbs will catch some riders out and that may well happen today, especially as many are tired after the first seven days of racing.
Today is an opportunity for Nibali's rivals to try to get back a few seconds. The gains surely won't be big but a few seconds clawed back from Vincenzo will be good for the morale. Once again a break will doubtless form and last at least until Col de la Croix des Moinats when everything should kick off in the peloton.
Possible winners today include Valverde, Rui Costa, Simon Gerrans, Contador, Nibali himself and, perhaps, Sagan.
The next three days in the Vosges should show who the real contenders are this year. Very unlikley that the race will be won here but it can certainly be lost.
More details from the excellent Steephill site.