The last day in the mountains and the third and final summit finish of this year’s race is the final opportunity for those climbers who will struggle against the quicker men in Saturday’s time trial to influence the GC. While the Col de Peyresourde regularly features in the Tour - indeed, it also featured on yesterday’s stage - this is the first time that Peyragudes has hosted a finish, on a climb where David Moncoutié won a mountain time trial to clinch the 2010 Route du Sud.
Besides the fight for the overall victory, with five categorised climbs ahead of today’s summit finish, this could also be a decisive day in the battle for the polka dot jersey, with plenty of points on offer. Add in the fact that today also represents a chance for riders who began the Tour with GC hopes but have fallen out of contention to rescue something from the race, and we could be in for a treat.
Geraint Thomas says: At this stage of the race there are going to be tired bodies and it can be very hot as well in the Pyrenees so I think it will be a very big day especially with that HC climb, that will do a lot of softening up and then you could see guys like Cadel Evans going off up the road maybe, with little bridges for someone like him to attack across to - after stage 16 for Cadel that would be pulling something back after a bad day rather than challenging for the overall. Maybe Steve Cummings as well, I think he’ll be looking to get into breaks, he’s had crashes and injuries but I think he’ll be getting stronger during the race and will be really good come these stages. From Brad’s point of view, he doesn't have to attack just stay with the GC favourites then it’s his to win - they are the ones who have to attack. Also, if someone’s a long way off on GC, Vinokourov or a rider like that, and they want to give their Tour one last big hit, today would be a good day, or someone like Nicolas Roche. It will definitely be a strong guy who will win today.
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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.