Stage 2: Crêches-sur-Saône - Chalmazel-Jeansagnière
The first uphill road stage finish of the race should provide another shake up in the overall standings with a third category climb up to Chalmazel-Jeansagnière. The preceding 155km are rolling throughout with the Col de Durbize coming inside the opening 15km, and the Col de la Croix Nicelle after 52km. However, it's the final slog to up Chalmazel-Jeansagnière and the all-important Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan that comes just before that should set the race alight. Teams such as Sky and Tinkoff will have to measure their approaches in order to control the field but with so many fresh legs, the attacks will be constant. If this stage came later in the race it would be ideal for a break but with the race so tightly contested, there's little chance in the peloton being so relaxed.
Cyclingnews' top tip: Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge): A breakaway could be a threat but if not – or if in there – the Australian has the characteristics to be aggressive on the long, gentle ascent to the line, along with the requisite punch to finish it off.
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