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Signature tires and a highly customized brake setup
A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
See how nearly every bicycle saddle is made
Ever wonder how FSA does it? Take a walk through the factory and find out
Stage 7 map, profile and Chris Boardman video preview
Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles
Highest point: 1,035m
Category: Medium mountains
The first steep ramps
Most pundits believe that the route of this year’s Tour heavily favours the time trial specialists and Frank Schleck is the man most frequently picked out as the rider for whom this is a problem. On this basis, Schleck and other climbers who struggle against the clock, such as Robert Gesink and Pierre Rolland, will have to take advantage of stages like this. All the damage will be done on the final climb, which has never previously featured on the Tour but provides a breathtaking finale to the Trois Ballons sportive. They may only gain seconds at the finish but they will get a big psychological boost if they drop key rivals.
Janez Brajkovic: "The profile of the final climb is really hard with ramps of 11 and 13 percent and there are certainly going to be some time differences at the top. It is almost six kilometres and averages around 7 percent so it is a climb that suits me."
Maps and profiles courtesy of ASO