This will get everyone’s climbing legs warmed nicely. Rather than go for a full-on mountain stage, Tour boss Prudhomme has opted for something slightly gentler but potentially unpredictable.
It’s a shame the Tour seldom comes to the Jura region, because this is wonderful cycling country, with narrow roads switching back and forth through dense forest. There are six climbs, which get progressively harder as the stage progresses. The favourites shouldn’t get into trouble, but this is ideal ambush country.
Procycling’s favourite to win:
Like fellow French teams Bbox and Française des Jeux, Cofidis have been bossing races this year and claiming the titles to go with that approach. Although unlikely to have a top 10 finisher, they do have several riders who’ll fancy a stage win, particularly on today’s very lumpy route where the overall favourites should mark each other closely. Rémi Pauriol and Rein Taaramäe are both in good shape, but this could be a day for Paris-Nice mountains jersey winner Amaël Moinard, who’s a decent bet for that same title at the Tour. This stage is an ideal way to build up points early in the King of the Mountains competition.