Despite not being a mountainous stage – and only featuring two fourth category climbs – at the end of this stage, the Tour will arrive in the Alps. Although those two climbs are the only ones to count, the altitude rises steadily from 46 metres at the start in Nîmes to 599 metres at the finish in Digne les Bains. The route crosses Provence and the Luberon wine area between Mont Ventoux and the Côte d'Azur before finishing in the spa town in the shadow of the high mountains that divide France form its neighbour Italy.
Digne les Bains is a fairly regular host to the Tour, having been a stage town eleven times before. Last time – in 2005 – David Moncoutié took the second of his two career stage wins after attacking the break on the road from Briançon to the north.