Tour de France: Stage 12

Another day for the fast men

Just as there were three 'transition' stages across southern France to reach the Pyrénées, there is another trio across the north and centre to carry the peloton to the Alps. This is the first and looks nailed on for a bunch finish. There are no climbs, the roads are wide and straight, and the intermediate sprint lies close enough to the finish to suggest the sprinters will be interested in contesting both if the battle for green is still ongoing. In addition, Tours is well known for looking favourably on sprinters, who tend to decide October's Paris-Tours Classic between them. The finish today is not on the Avenue de Grammont. On this occasion, the line will be in front of the city's exhibition centre. Coming into Tours, the race will pass a number of the breathtaking châteaux in the Loire valley, notably at Langeais and Villandry, where the TV helicopters are sure to linger over the spectacular gardens. By then, the peloton will be racing at full bore, ensuring no one clips off the front before the finish.

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