The course profile may suggest otherwise, but this is a real mountain stage which the favourites would be wrong not to take seriously! We packed all the difficulties into the last fifty kilometres, including a climb up the little-known Col de Palaquit towards the final hour of racing. With 14.1 km of fluctuating gradients, this will be anything but a joy ride. More than enough to spark an important selection ahead of the final climb up Chamrousse, an 18.2 km mountain with an average gradient of 7.3%.
Sagan.. 2nd.. Again..
Tony Martin quickly becoming the fan's favourite, and with good reason. I'm also feeling quite bad for OGE as they're putting in tons of effort to try and get a win but just not getting any luck. I hope they manage it soon. I've also heard that there may be protests today because of Orica, so we'll have to hope it doesn't effect the racing too much.
Today is possibly the toughest climbing day so far, with a big summit finish. Will Nibali finally crack? I don't think so, but he might lose time today. I'll have my eye on Pinot and Porte, but also Bardet. Valverde has been very quiet recently, but I think he's got something planned, although maybe not for today.
A few useful links
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tiernan-locke-banned-for-two-years - I really hope he makes up for his mistakes, comes back to the sport, and proves himself