This is the last transition stage before the riders face the Alps, and the last opportunity for the sprinters to strut their stuff before they suffer on the big climbs to come.
Thursday 17th July: Stage 12 – Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne, flat, 185.5km
Unlike yesterday, the climbs are spread out along the route with the summit of the final cat 4 23km from the finish, which could give the fast men plenty of time to recover. If they make it over the Cote de Grammond, expect to see sprint trains at full speed working for powerful finishers such as John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff or Peter Sagan. (You know I’m going to keep putting his name out here until he wins one!)
Should it come down to a sprint, the finish is one of the less complicated ones the riders face during this Tour. The final corner comes at 1,500 metres, after which it’s a largely straight (if narrow) finish, with a couple of gentle curves which means the line doesn’t come into view until around 300 metres to go. That’s about as difficult as it gets, though.
Link: Official website
Header image: Bourg-en-Bresse cathedral