Highest point: 2,115m
Category: High mountains
A Tour staple in the pre-war years, the linking of the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde passes is rarely seen in modern times. There’s no summit finish but the organisers believe this is likely to make the action more intense as riders won’t be tempted to sit back and wait for the final climb before racing. The fact that the Aubisque and the Tourmalet – the ‘roof’ of this year’s race – come first won’t suit the climbers. Some of them (Andy Schleck?) may not appreciate the final descent of the Peyresourde either as it’s very speedy and suits daredevils. It won’t be an easy day for whoever is defending the yellow jersey.
Janez Brajkovič: In 2010, we went over the Tourmalet and that was the most difficult stage I’ve ever done. It will be tough and a few people will lose the Tour here. If you’re dropped before the last climb then you’re going lose a lot of time.
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Video: Tour de France 2012 stage 16 preview by Chris Boardman