The 2012 Tour de France makes its second excursion outside its home country, albeit a briefer one than the three-day Grand Départ, with the final 50km of today’s stage played out in Switzerland. There are five categorised climbs to negotiate in the Jura mountains prior to the border, however, and another three afterwards before what should be a fast descent off the Col de la Croix ahead of a flat run-in to the finish.
Michael Albasini, winner of the 2010 Tour of Britain, has moved up a gear since joining Orica-GreenEdge at the start of the season, with some big results so far in 2012 – winner of two stages and the overall in the Volta a Catalunya, second in the Fleche Wallonne and most recently taking a fine solo win in the penultimate stage of the Tour de Suisse. He’ll have more motivation than most to win today as the Tour pays its brief visit to his native country.
Geraint Thomas says: This looks like the kind of day where people could lose time rather than gaining it. It’s a solid day for sure with a lot of climbing over quite a short distance, so I think it will be a tough day. The last climb isn’t far from the finish, so someone like Nibali who can go well downhill could see that as a good opportunity to have a dig and gain a bit of time. Even if it’s 20 or 30 seconds it could make a difference. The weather could play a part, and not just if it’s wet – if it’s super hot, being a short stage some guys might not feed right and it could be a day where quite a few riders suffer. I think there will be a breakaway anyway, and with it going into Switzerland Albasini could be a good shout.
To find out more about the stages in this year's race read our full 2012 Tour de France Preview with tips for every stage from Team Sky's Geraint Thomas
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