Tour de France preview: Stage 8

Stage 8: Belfort to Porrentruy, 157.5km, medium mountains

It might be a shorter stage – and one which spends the majority of its length in Switzerland – but what this medium mountain stage lacks in length it makes up for with a real sting in its short tail. There are seven climbs of increasing severity, starting with fourth and third category climbs before a quartet of second category mountains and finally the Cat 1 Col de la Croix.

The Col de Saulcy, the fifth climb, is 4.6km long at an average of 8.6% but with stinging sections of 11% and 14% just before the summit. That will seem like a walk in the park compared to the final Col de la Croix, 3.7km of hell at 9.2% but with spikes of 13%, 15% and 17% before the blessed mercy of the summit. A climber who carves out an advantage over the top and can fearlessly descend the 16km to the finish will take this stage. Sylvain Chavanel won a stage with a similar profile in 2010 so he’ll certainly want to be giving the victory salute in Porrentruy. And expect both descending ace Vincenzo Nibali and defending champion Cadel Evans to try to put pressure on new yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins.

The intermediate sprint occurs shortly after the summit of the fifth climb, and so is unlikely to have any meaningful impact on the green jersey competition as the sprinters hunker down for a long week of suffering in the gruppetto.

Cycling the Alps’ interactive videos of the route can be found here.

Link: Official website

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