Friday, 16 July 2010

Stage 12 Preview: A chance for some fireworks

Another major first-time stage, Bourg-de-Péage is known as the former “felt-hat” capital. The town has also hosted two stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, including a time-trial, won in 2006 by David Zabriskie, winner of the Tour Prologue in Noirmoutier the previous year. Last year, the Tour passed through Bourg during the stage from Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas.

This long journey of 210.5 km from Bourg-de-Péage to Mende is sure to see some fireworks. Die hard Tour supporters will always associate Mende with Laurent Jalabert’s Bastille Day win on the 14th of July 1995. Of all “Jaja’s” victories , which include four Tour stage wins, this is considered by many to be his finest.

With temperatures soaring again today, in a region where it is often hot, riders are sure to be affected by the time their day finishes with the Laurent Jalabert climb in Mende, which is no easy task. Some sections include 10% slopes. Formerly the Côte de la Croix Neuve, the climb requires a sudden boost and could further hurt Armstrong, a riders who likes to build-up into ascents. In comparison to Contador, who has more punch, he could struggle once more.

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