Analysis by Jean-François Pescheux, Tour competition director: “The day after the first rest day, and the riders are straight into the thick of it with a climb up the Iséran (15 kilometres at six per cent, and the “roof” of this year’s Tour at 2,770 metres). We wanted to bring the race up here in 1996, but the stage was routed away from the climb because of snow. Even if the pace is fast up this huge mountain, the following 70 kilometres of downhill and flat should allow the whole field to regroup. It will all be blown apart again on the Galibier, especially as there are just 40 mainly downhill kilometres from its summit down into Briançon. The main contenders should still be together on this section and the stage could well be decided between them in the final two kilometres, which climb fairly steeply (6.7%) before a final 200 metres of flat road.”


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