July 7 Stage 6: Dinan to Lisieux, 226.5km (140.7 miles)
This longest stage of the 2011 Tour is also likely to be one of the fastest because it heads east with the prevailing winds out of Brittany along the Channel coast and across the rolling hills of Normandy. The finish at Lisieux features a significant climb past its massive Ste. Thérèse basilica, 2km from the finish, featuring a 10-percent pitch midway up the 1.3km, 6.3-percent grade.
THE SCOOP: The sprinters’ teams are likely to let a breakaway form after the intermediate sprint at Vassy, some 100km from the finish. Given the length of the stage, the break should stay away; but GC contenders will still need to be wary of losing time when the peloton splits on the climb to the finish.
OVERALL RATING: **