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Stage 18 - Thursday, July 21: Albi - Mende, 189 km

This stage is made for an escape artist in the style of Laurent Jalabert - or whoever takes his place in this year's peloton - who was able to push hard enough on the climbs to get away. The finish is atop Cote de la Croix-Neuve, a brutally steep climb of 10.1% for 3.1km after climbing the Cote de Chabrits, a cat 3 short climb of 1.7km with a tough 7.1% gradient. Michael Boogerd and Alexandre Vinokourov could both be in the mix for a win on this stage within the Massif Central - look for some shuffles on GC as riders tire after 10 days of climbing, and the final selection is made before the race against the clock.

Images ©:AFP

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