Analysis by Jean-François Pescheux, Tour competition director: “The first mountain stage of the Tour, and this year it comes a bit earlier than usual because we wanted to get to this point quicker and break up the race a bit sooner. After three early testers, the main difficulty of the day is the Col de la Colombiere, which is tackled from its tougher side: 16 kilometres at an average of 6.7%. The finish in Le Grand Bornand is exactly the same as the one where Lance Armstrong won in 2004. This stage will perhaps not unveil the winner of the Tour, because all of the main contenders are bound to stay close to each other. I can’t see a climber being allowed to get away on their own either. But the stage will see the first big sort-out, with three-quarters of the peloton ending up out of overall contention, and it will allow some decent comparisons to be made between the contenders at the end of the first week.”

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