July 16, Stage 12:
Tonnerre - Vittel 211.5km
- Daniel Simms
June 30, 2009, 11:47 BST,
July 22, 2009, 8:39 BST
Final climb might be decisive
Another cross-country, transitional stage for the sprinters or likely breakaways. Riders get underway on their 200km-journey to thermal station Vittel in Tonnerre, which means 'thunder' in English. Will it inspire Norwegian fast man Thor ('the thunder god') Hushovd to take the honours in Vittel, where the mineral water and major sponsor of the Tour comes from?
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This is definitively a day for an attacker with its up and down all day, and a pretty nasty 3rd category climb close to the line.
The sprinters’ teams may not feel secure in their steed making it over a hill so close to the line.
However, an on-form Oscar Friere certainly can make it to the line on a day like this, so perhaps Rabobank will force the pace, pick up the attackers, drop the rest of the sprinters, and pick up a win.