Stage 14: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule - Lyon
Rolling roads suit breakaway
Almost any rider who is not a sprinter, climber or GC contender is likely to have a X on this stage in their route manual. There are seven categorised climbs, all but one packed into the second half. The roads are rolling even before the first climb and it would be no surprise to see a sizeable break go clear. All of the teams who have come up with nothing so far will be determined to have a rider or two in the break. With a huge stage to Mont Ventoux to follow, the peloton is unlikely to commit to much of a pursuit, which should leave the breakaways to decide it between them. The last two fourth-cat climbs in Lyon will be critical to the final decision. A puncheur like Sylvain Chavanel could do a lot of damage on those hills, perhaps even managing to finish alone. Back in the peloton, although they are sure to be tackled at a fast pace, those ascents are not tough enough to trouble the GC contenders. Anyone who does find those climbs hard is in for a nightmarish Bastille Day run south…
Nicolas Portal: "I've not checked this one but a friend in Lyon says there's a tricky climb near the finish. You've got to be careful on these stages but the roads are wider than those on equivalent days at the Giro. That doesn't mean there's less tension, though, as there are so many sprinters who want to win."
The city that hosted the Tour's first stage finish, Lyon has not featured all that often on the route in recent decades. The last time the Tour finished in the city was in 2003, when Alessandro Petacchi, who retired a couple of months back, led the pack home in the centenary edition of the Tour de France.
Maps and profiles courtesy of ASO
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