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Valley finish for stage 8
The Pyrenean stages continue with a 176km-ride from the Principality of Andorra to Saint-Girons, back in France. Three climbs are on the menu: the Port d'Envalira (23.2km at 5.1 percent) early in the stage, the Col de Port (11.4 km at 5.5 percent) mid-way and the Col d'Agnès (12.4 km at 6.5 percent) some 44 clicks before the finish in the valley.
Overall contenders will be watchful over the breakaways, even if - or especially because - this is not a mountain top finish. At this point, the GC leader could also choose to give the yellow jersey to some other team to defend in order to spare some energy. In any case, stage 8 promises to be action-packed.
If great French climber Richard Virenque still raced, this would be a day for him. The mountains early and in the middle of the stage will be hell for sprinters and tired legs.
Of course there will be some that don’t have tired legs and are waiting for a stage just like this to make everyone wince half in pain and half hatred, as they attack up the road early on.
For me, this is a day for the durable climber that perhaps isn’t quite in the GC race. Maybe Luis Leon Sanchez or Amael Moinard? Or Jens Voigt?