Stage 13: Tours to St-Amand-Montrond, 173km, flat
There is one cat 4 climb just before the halfway mark of this stage and then it’s up to the sprint teams to make sure they get their boys up for a bunch finish as this is one of the last chances they get before Paris to gallop to glory.
That said, there will probably be a concerted effort for a break to get away and if they play nice and work together, they might be able to steal the sprinters’ thunder. You can just see Jens Voigt playing the patron of the mini-break, getting a group of strong riders organised and then making everyone work their legs off to stay away. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Any late-surviving break could be aided by a short but not too tricky uncategorised climb inside the final 10km. Much more likely to disrupt the lead-out trains is a series of three bends – left-right-left – in quick succession inside the final kilometre, which will have trains competing for the optimum line and string everyone out. That could spell danger for the unwary as Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan battle to stop Marcel Kittel from winning stage number four.
Bit of trivia: Carlos Sastre cemented his 2008 Tour de France lead by riding the time trial of his life at St Amand-Montrond and rode into Paris in the maillot jaune.
Link: Official website
Header picture: Benedictine monastery at Villeloin-Coulange