Although it's as flat as any of the stages in the first week, the 13th leg of the Tour between Miramas and Montpellier will not necessarily end in a bunch sprint. The general classification riders will have no interest in attacking today, but there are plenty of riders left in the Tour who haven't tasted success and will try to get into a strong breakaway. That will put pressure on the Davitamon-Lotto team, which has the best sprinter in the race in the form of Robbie McEwen, to chase. The question is, whether they will have the firepower left after 12 very hard days of racing to bring a break back, especially without a Boonen-less Quick.Step to help them out.
Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd leads the green jersey competition at the moment by a sizeable margin over Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) and McEwen. Like the yellow jersey competition, it is up to the other riders to challenge Hushovd, and Credit Agricole certainly won't be obliged to chase today. But Davitamon-Lotto may find an ally in Cofidis, as O'Grady is still thinking about the green jersey, even if he can't normally beat McEwen in a head-to-head sprint. Perhaps Gerolsteiner (Wrolich, Forster), Francaise des Jeux (Eisel, Cooke) and Liberty Seguros (Davis) will help get things together as well.
Montpellier first hosted a Tour finish in 1930, when Charles Pélissier won. Danish rider Rolf Sörensen was the last winner here, in 1994. And interestingly, Lance Armstrong abandoned after the end of that stage while lying 33rd overall, more than 26 minutes behind eventual winner Miguel Indurain.
Watch the stage unfold on live.cyclingnews.com.