This stage never moves more than a few miles from Stoke and with careful planning you might be able to catch it at several points. And while this may not be the hilliest part of the country, it can get very windy on top of the hills and the First Category Gun Hill – reached after 75 miles – though not long, does reach an eye-watering 25%. That’s steep and may present an opportunity for some climbers to escape.
The first two climbs are at the Glacial Boulder in Cannock Chase and the category 2 climb of Oakamoor Moorside. The three Yodel sprints are at Stone, Uttoxeter and Rocester. Uttoxeter is more famous for its racecourse, which at one mile, two furlongs is a lot shorter than today’s stage – though the horses will probably edge even Ivan Basso when it comes to speed. The stage is due to finish in Stoke’s City Centre around two o’clock, so get there early. At 147km it’s quite short and may be a day for a breakneck mass sprint finish, though it’s possible that a breakaway could have formed early on.
Mildly interesting stage fact off of the Internet
Stoke-on-Trent is made up of six main towns – Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton – but still manages to have a football team named after none of them: Port Vale. Go figure.