Tour de France 2012 stage 17 preview

Last chance for the climbers

Distance: 143.5km

Highest point: 1,755m

Category: High mountains

This is a crucial stage for the specialist climbers as it’s the last opportunity for any of them who are in contention for the yellow jersey to establish enough of a cushion to hold the time trial specialists at bay on the penultimate day. The stage mixes old and new. The first climb is the Menté, where Luis Ocaña crashed out of the 1971 race in a thunderstorm with the race all but won. Next is the Port de Balès, where Andy Schleck lost his chain and the race in 2010, which is an ideal place to launch a long-range attack. Then comes the Peyresourde and the final, and first-ever, climb to the resort above it.

Allan Peiper: With the final time-trial looming, this is the very last chance for some riders to gain some time on their rivals. It is quite a short distance so there’ll be a lot of fireworks and the last climb is sure to be an absolutely huge showdown.

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Video: Tour de France 2012 stage 17 preview by Chris Boardman

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