This appears a relatively straightforward stage, but one with an intriguing look. It links two towns that have never hosted the Tour before on roads that rarely see the race come by.
Like the Jura, which was visited just before the Alps, the Drôme region that hosts most of today’s route is a relative backwater in France, but that makes it excellent cycling country. Although classed as flat, this stage features regular ups and downs including the cat three Col de Cabre. This is good terrain for breakaways, but the sprinters will be eager to strut their stuff again after four days in the Alps.
Procycling’s favourite to win:
Garmin’s Tyler Farrar pushed Mark Cavendish as hard as anyone last year and a Tour stage win is surely not far off for the 26-year-old from Washington state. After a strong Classics campaign, during which he won the Scheldeprijs title and came fifth in the Tour of Flanders, followed by two wins at the Giro, Farrar goes into the Tour as a good bet for the points title, especially now that he has South African sprinter Robbie Hunter working in his lead-out train. Jonathan Vaughters has invested heavily to build the train, now Farrar has to deliver.