You could be forgiven for wondering whether Philippe Gilbert sketched out his dream scenario for week one and the Tour simply went with it.
This is by some distance the Tour's longest stage, taking in undulating roads. There are no big hills as such, just constant up and downs taking a toll. Even though you would expect the sprinters to be in control in this region, there is sure to be a late twist on the short, sharp rise towards the basilica in Lisieux, little more than a kilometre from the finish. Any riders who gain seconds there are likely to dispute the finish between them.
Distance: 226.5 km
Highest point: 335m
Sylwester Szmyd says...
"My guess is that the GC guys will be watching one another and that someone like Gilbert will win it. My role will be the same as ever on days like these – be vigilant and stay close to Basso, make sure gaps don't open and spend as little as possible."
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.