Today's stage from Tournus to the Station des Rousses takes the riders across the flat Saône Valley before entering the picturesque Jura mountains. This stage with six climbs – three 2nd category, two 3rd and a 4th – is the taster for the three Alpine stages to come. The sprinters, who dominated the last few stages, will be left behind and the contenders for overall victory will start to come to the fore.
Although today's stage is very unlikely to be decisive it will be a first indication of who is going well in the mountains. There are no really steep climbs but once the riders hit the first hill just after 40 kilometres, it is up and down for the remaining 120K to the finish. After days of riding along mainly flat roads, it can be difficult to make the quick adjustment to riding uphill. This allied with the heat of this week and yesterdays undulating stage where they climbed some 2500 metres means there may well be a few overall contenders who have problems of this stage.
A few predictions for the weekend:
Fabien Cancellara may retain the yellow jersey today but will lose it tomorrow on the Alpine stage to Morzine-Avoriaz tomorrow.
Lance Armstrong will lose more time to Andy Schleck and to Alberto Contador.
Cadel Evans will remain in contention.
Thor Hushovd may try a breakaway to pick up Green Jersey points