The favourites emerge
This stage joins two towns also linked in the 2008 Tour. The route between them is slightly different, though, with the cat 2 Col de Croix Saint-Robert providing a stiff test prior to the final climb up to the ski resort of Super-Besse. Three years ago, Riccardo Riccò led the field home while Stefan Schumacher lost the yellow jersey after crashing in the final charge to the hill-top finish. Neither, of course, will race this year, but the yellow jersey could still change hands. The final ramps are steep enough to split the field and to ensure all the yellow jersey favourites will be working hard.
Distance: 189 km
Highest point: 1,451m
Category: Medium mountains
Sean Yates says...
'In the Massif Central, it’s often so hot the tarmac starts to melt. The stages are hectic until the break goes but the main group will never coast and let a group get 20 minutes. I doubt that the finish is hard enough to cause big splits in the GC guys."
Matt White says...
"Climbers in GC voids are no longer just surviving but dishing it out. It's only the Massif Central but this should be Contador's first stage win."