Stage 7: Fougères - Chartres
The most difficult part of this stage is its length. Stage 7 is the longest this year with 231km.
Leaving Brittany from Fougères, the home of former yellow jersey Georges Groussard (nine days in 1964), former Tour de France technical director Albert Bouvet and current Fortuneo-Samsic team manager Emmanuel Hubert, the race visits the cycling mad provinces of Mayenne and Sarthe throughout the undulated "Alpes mancelles" at half way into Chartres and its famous cathedral.
On the Tour's last visit in 2004, it wasn't a bunch sprint finish, but Stuart O'Grady won from a breakaway and Thomas Voeckler started his first odyssey in yellow. The finishing area of the Beauce can be windy and favour echelons.
The other factor to reduce the probability of a bunch gallop is the teams being down to eight men. After one week of racing, they won't have the super power of cancelling all breakaway attempts like before.
Matt White says: On paper this is a really simple stage but that’s not to be confused with calling it easy. You’ve got to manage your resources for stages like this, and rotate your riders between the TTT and the Roubaix stage.
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