Stage 10: Mulhouse - La Planche des Belles Filles
Category: High mountains
Highest point: 1,202m
This is where the Tour de France will begin for the general classification. Some of the weaker riders will have been weeded out on stage 9, but this summit finish will be the biggest test they face so far.
It also happens to be Bastille Day, so we can count on there being a handful of French riders getting into the break. Expect to see the likes of Romain Bardet, who was the top placed Frenchman in 2013.
The last time a French rider won on Bastille Day was in 2005, when David Moncoutié escaped with 37 kilometres to go. How the French would love to see that again.
With four first category climbs on the menu, plus some lower category ascents thrown in for good measure, this will be a day for the strongest. The pièce de résistance of this stage will be the final two leg-busting climbs up the Col des Chevrères and La Planche des Belles Filles.
La Planche des Belles Filles first featured as a climb in 2012. It is only a short climb, at 5.9km, but it regularly hits gradients over 10 per cent. The hardest part comes at the top, when the road reaches 20 per cent. Chris Froome won here on that occasion, putting himself into the polka-dot jersey.
Jean-Christophe Péraud says... "This stage will have an impact on the overall and position on the final climb is everything. Don't be surprised if a breakaway is successful - all the French riders will be in it to win it on Bastille Day. I think whoever wins here will have an explosive kick."
Chris Froome might have been the winner when the race last climbed La Planche des Belles Filles, but it was his teammate Bradley Wiggins that rode himself into the yellow jersey. He wouldn’t give it up for the remainder of the race. It’s likely to be a different story this year. With only one time trial and some much tougher stages to come, keeping the jersey will be a hard task.
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