The fact that Colombian climbing legend Lucho Herrera won a very similar stage to this back in 1985 underlines the importance of this stage to the yellow jersey contenders.
As the popular old adage goes, it’ll be one of those days they can’t win the Tour but can definitely lose it. The main difficulty is the Ramaz, the first cat one ascent of the race and one only used once before, back in 2003 when Richard Virenque led the race over it and won in Morzine. The climb to Avoriaz is not super hard, but as a high summit finish it can be counted on to split the main contenders to some extent as those with the legs and those without are sorted out.
Procycling’s favourite to win:
The last time the Tour raced up to Avoriaz was in a mountain time trial in 1994. Piotr Ugrumov upstaged Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani on his way to second place in Paris, and similarly big names should feature at the ski station today. If he’s lost any time on the cobbles, Alberto Contador will be determined to chip something off that deficit and, based on what we’ve seen so far in 2010, may prove to be uncontainable.