The halfway point of the 2012 Tour de France is marked by a stage that includes the tough climb of the Col du Grand Colombier, the first Hors-Category climb of the race, featuring 17.4km of climbing at an average gradient of 7.1 per cent, with ramps that hit 18 per cent in places. After that’s been crested, there is the smaller Col de Richemond to be negotiated before the riders head down to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, and the kick uphill in the final kilometre looks like being influential in determining the stage win.
It was on the descent of the Grand Colombier that Cadel Evans and his BMC Racing colleagues tried to put race leader Bradley Wiggins in trouble during the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, briefly distancing the defending champion although with his Team Sky colleagues working hard to bridge the gap, the Briton was able to rejoin the Australian, in an episode that demonstrated his determination and resilience.
Geraint Thomas says: Looking at the profile, you wouldn’t have thought it would be a GC day really, but I think because of the route this year, everyone’s got to take the opportunities that they can, and now Brad’s in the jersey then people are going to attack Sky as much as possible. I think it will be a breakaway day, but the GC guys will look for every chance they’ve got attack Brad, obviously that 100-odd kilometres of time trialling plays into his hands massively. So I think it will be slightly different racing to usual in this year’s Tour. A lot more people need to be more aggressive, so it should be a great Tour to watch.
To find out more about this year's Tour stages read our full 2012 Tour de France Preview with analysis of every stage and tips from Team Sky's Geraint Thomas.
Fantasy Cycling: The transfer window for the Stage 10 shuts at 11.14am on Wednesday and you have 4 transfers.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.