Neil Stephens analyses the Tour - Part II

Winning in 1997

Winning in 1997 (Image credit: Unknown)

From Briançon to Paris

A veteran of seven Tours de France, Australian Neil Stephens has a very good idea of what it takes to complete La Grande Boucle. Now employed as a Tour guide and Professional Cycling Coordinator within the Australian Sports Commission, 'Stevo' provides Cyclingnews with his unique take on the 2005 race route, spiced with plenty of his own experiences of Tours gone by. In the second part of his analysis, Stephens looks at stages 12-21, from Briançon to Paris.

Stage 12 - Thursday, July 14: Briançon - Digne-les-Bains, 187 km

Another hard day and with a couple of days of mountain stages under the belt, I think you will see a lot of riders having a hard time today. To make things worse, today being Bastille day (the National day for the French) every French rider with any sense of National pride will attack, hoping that he will have the nation on its feet as he takes out the stage victory on their special day.

Truth is that every time one French rider attacks, another one gets jealous and chases him down. Result, nine out of ten, a non-French rider takes the stage win on Bastille Day.

Click here for the full story.

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