Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne — Annonay Davezieux (140.4mi / 226km)
Friday, July 13
With its distinctive profile, any number of scenarios could play themselves out today. Departing from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, the 226km run to Annonay Davézieux sees two Cat. 1 climbs in the first 80km, and then a long, downhill-trending run to the 200km point, where the road kicks up again on the run-in to the finish.
The stage could work well for the breakaway artists, who would have to hammer the two big mountains and hope the leaders will let them go. A group of 8-10 riders may even be able to extend its lead on the 115km, mostly-downhill section between the summit of the Col du Granier and the base of the Cat. 3 Côte d’Ardoix, in which case they should be able to stay away to the finish. The profile screams Luis Léon Sanchez (Rabobank) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge). Both are master breakaway riders and the Ardoix and the finish ramp to Annonay Davézieux suit them perfectly.
Another scenario could see Liquigas-Cannondale pull Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) toward the front of the race in the lead-in to the Ardoix. Sagan has been on a red-hot streak leading into the Tour and an Alpine stage win would be his biggest to date.
The last finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in 2010 saw a display of power and tactical prowess when Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) took revenge on Sanchez, who had beaten him the year before in a duel in Saint-Girons. That same day Cadel Evans donned the yellow jersey — but lost it on the next stage after he suffered a fractured elbow. This is the Tour’s first visit to Annonay Davézieux, which has seen the Dauphiné and a stage of Paris-Nice.