Analysis by Jean-François Pescheux, Tour competition director: “This stage is very much like yesterday’s. It’s long, demanding, without any obvious difficulties, but could still see a lot of things changing around. It’s definitely the last chance for the breakaway artists to strut their stuff, for those who missed out in the mountains to have a final fling, and for anyone who’s still got some juice left to use it, and all the more so because the riders high up overall will be saving themselves for tomorrow’s time trial and won’t really mind what riders well down the classification are up to. Having said that, there are some that say that if a rider is three minutes ahead of Vinokourov, for example, then “Vino” might see a stage like this as an opportunity to get some bonus seconds back in intermediate sprints.”

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