Friday, 16 July 2010

Stage 13 Preview: Last chance saloon for the sprinters?

With a difference of just 45 points between Hushvod and Rojas in 1st and 5th place respectively, the points competition for the Maillot Vert is now a close call. Tomorrow's stage will provide one last chance for the sprinters to light the blue touch paper for some fireworks and win a stage before the race enters the Pyrenees.

The 196km route from Rodez to Ravel is not an easy textbook sprint stage; it is intended to blow the doors wide open once more in the points competition, and could arguably be a last chance saloon for those wanting to have one last grab at glory with a stage victory, or indeed for someone in the top 5 in the sprint competition to take the Maillot Vert far out of reach from anyone contesting it, guaranteeing its place in Paris.

Starting in Rodez, the former capital of the former French province of Rouergue, and a stage town once before when Pierre-Henri Menthéour of Renault-Elf-Gitane took a victory in 1984, the peloton will rumble down an undulating route into Revel, the county town of Haute-Garonne canton.

A former medieval town at the foot of the Black Mountain, Revel is no stranger to the Tour. Hosting the Tour eight times since 1966, every time a powerful fighter has won: Rudi Altig, Paolo Savoldelli and Joachim Agostinho, Charly Mottet and Erik Dekker have all been victors here.

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