July 5 Stage 4: Lorient to Mûr-de-Bretagne, 172.5km (107 miles)
This stage is definitely not one for the sprinters. The start in Lorient is only 70km from the finish at Mûr-de-Bretagne, but the route of this fourth stage travels an extra 100km on a loop that takes in lot of short climbs through central Brittany before finishing atop the infamous hill at Mûr-de-Bretagne that the locals call Brittany’s L’Alpe d’Huez because so many fans line its slopes on race day. This finishing climb opens with a straight kilometer at a 10-percent grade, including two 15-percent pitches, and eases to 5.5 percent, then 2.4 percent for the final 500 meters.
THE SCOOP: Expect to see the GC riders’ teammates pulling their leaders toward the head of the bunch in the final kilometers before reaching a short hill into the town of Mûr-de-Bretagne 4km from the line. Vital seconds will be lost by those not starting the final climb in good position.
OVERALL RATING: ***