One of the more intriguing stages of this year’s race, organisers have thrown in two Category 1 climbs early on, but there are still nearly 150km to go to the finish once the second of those has been crested. It could be a decent-sized group that gets over those, with opportunities for riders to bridge back ahead of the day’s final climb, and stronger sprinters will fancy their chances if they are still in contention coming into the long uphill drag of the closing kilometres.
Some riders are bound to get dropped on both of those early climbs, but with the day’s other main challenge the less taxing Category 3 Col d’Ardoix, the summit of which comes 19km from the end, the men that make up the autobus should have ample opportunity to make the calculations to work out today’s likely cut-off time.
Geraint Thomas says: I think there will be attacks before that first climb and it’s going to be a strong group that goes, but it depends how big it is. If it’s a break of ten or twelve then it can stay away but if it’s a smaller group, and it’s going to be climbers who are in there, then they are going to struggle to keep away. If Matt Goss or Peter Sagan are around then their teams will want to bring them back, especially as Cav isn’t really in contention for the green jerse. So it could go either way and I wouldn’t be surprised if it came down to a group finish. It all depends on the size of that group that gets away and who’s in it – if there’s someone from GreenEdge, they’re not going to want to bring it back for Gossy. It could also be a day for Chavanel or someone like that, to make a late attack and try and hold them off. A lot could go on!
To find out more about the stages in this year's race check out our full 2012 Tour de France Preview with analysis of every stage and tips from Team Sky's Geraint Thomas
Fantasy Cycling Stage 12 transfer deadline is 10am
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