Stage 11 of the 2017 Tour de France will cover 203.5kms from Eymet to Pau, bringing the race closer to the Pyrenese. This day will probably be marked with another long break that comes together in the closing kilometers if the sprinters’ teams are willing to work, especially since this is the last “sprint stage” before Paris. Remaining non-mountain stages still have a bit of a roll to them, favoring classics riders and attackers.
In store today, after 100kms, the race will pass the Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes. Then, there is one cat-4 climb at 145.5kms—the Côte d’Aire-sure-l’Adour (1.2kms at 4.2%). This comes almost immediately after the intermediate sprint in Aire-sure-l’Adour at 142.5kms.
This is the 59th time the Tour has finished in Pau, largely due to its proximity to the Pyrenees. But, leading up to Pau, the stage is a bit flatter than Stage 10. So it will be interesting to see how determined the sprinters are—go for the stage win, or preserve energy to help get over the climbs the next few days?
Stage 10 of the 2017 Tour de France runs 178kms from Perigueux to Bergerac. This stage is a respite for the riders who dislike climbs as it only has two cat-4’s :
Km 100.5- Côte de Domme 3.5 kms at 3.3% - category 4
Km 138.5- Côte du Buisson-de-Cadouin 2.1kms at 5.6% - category 4
As usual, there is also an intermediate sprint, this time late in the stage at 121kms in Saint-Cyprien.
On paper, it seems like a likely sprinter stage; however, if the sprinter teams don’t want to work for it, a break could easily slip away as we have seen happen on transition stages. Some of that will come down to how the rest day went. It’s likely the peloton will be content to take it a bit easier on the stage, so just how much will sprint teams be willing to work?
Stage 8 of the 2017 Tour de France runs 187.5kms into the Jura region of France, starting in Dole and ending at Station des Rousses.
This region is known as being mountainous, and today is no exception with three categorized climbs en route:
Km 101.5- Col de la Joux 6.1kms at 4.7% - category 3
Km 138.5- Côte de Viry 7.6kms at 5.2% - category 2
Km 175.5- Côte de la Combe de Laisia-Les Molunes 11.7kms at 6.4% - category 1
The final climb also happens to summit 11kms from the finish, so if someone gets dropped on the climb, a few risks on the descent will allow riders to still be in contention at the conclusion.
Before the hills start, the intermediate sprint is in Montrond at 45.5kms. The sprinters will likely contest for any points the day’s breakaway doesn’t gobble up, but by the end, these same sprinters will likely be in the gruppetto. Depending on the composition of that break, however, it might be a good day for them to stay off the front, especially with the difficult stage that awaits the riders on Sunday.
Stage 9 of the 2017 Tour de France encompasses 181.5kms, running from Nantua to Chambery. While there is an intermediate sprint at 126.5kms in Massignieu-De-Rives, it will not interest the green jersey competition riders as the story of the day is certainly the climbs.
Today’s stage has 7 categorized climbs en route, including the Grand Colombier with sections containing gradients up to 22%! The final climb, the Mont du Chat, hasn’t been in the Tour since 1974 and is considered one of the toughest mountains in the Tour. All the climbs are:
Km 3.5- Côte des Neyrolles 3.2kms at 7.2% - category 2
Km 11.0- Col de Bérentin 4.1kms at 6.1% - category 3
Km 38.0- Côte de Franclens 2.4kms at 6% - category 3
Km 67.5- Col de la Biche (Croix de Famban) 10.5kms at 9% - category H
Km 91.0- Grand Colombier 8.5kms at 9.9% - category H
Km 134.0- Côte de Jongieux 3.9kms at 4.2% - category 4
Km 155.5- Mont du Chat 8.7 kms at 10.3% - category H
Analyzing this, the race starts almost immediately with a climb that doesn’t have much of a descent before the next climb which also lacks a major descent. From here, it will be up and down all day! Thus, for many, this is being called the hardest stage of the 2017 Tour.
One thing is for sure—it will be a day for the climbers and tactics. It will be up to Sky and Froome to defend yellow, probably by setting a grueling tempo on the front. Who is going to try to attack?
The seventh stage of the 2017 Tour de France travels 213.5kms from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges into wine country. This is yet another flat stage, well suited to the tastes of the sprinters once again. That being said, the closing kilometres of the stage enters a region known for its crosswinds, so nothing is a foregone conclusion.
There is one climb for the stage: The cat-4 Cote d’Urey (2.5kms; 4.2%). The intermediate sprint is in Chanceaux at 108kms. These both should go to the breakaway riders.
Since the Jura await the riders the next two days—including a particularly challenging day on Sunday—the sprinters need to make the most of things with this stage since it will be awhile before their next chance at victory!