Stage 12: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay Davézieux

From a relatively short stage yesterday to the longest of the Tour today: a 226km route taking us over the last of the Alpine climbs.  The first climb, the Cat 1 Col du Grand Cucheron, is a 9.7km ascent commencing at around the 21km mark with the summit at 34km. It starts slowly, at around 4-5%, but keeps on building with the final 500m at 10%. The Col du Granier – another Cat 1 – follows at 71km. This 9.7km climb has an average gradient of 8.6%, but from kilometre five it is closer to 10%. The final climb is the Cat 3 Côte d’Ardoix, starting at 201.6km. Cycling Weekly’s guide notes that the descents this stage are longer than their preceding climbs, which should give the sprinters the opportunity to stay in touch with the climbers and the GC contenders. After last night’s sorting out, it will be interesting to see what Nibali does and who will have a crack at a break. SBS is live streaming from 7pm so you don’t have to miss any of the cycling action.

Onto the vache action. There is no breed indigenous to this region, but I’m not leaving anything to chance: there are cows in the vicinity! Google Maps has been remarkably helpful with this shot taken on the route the riders will follow today:

Image: Mr Jalili

Let’s just hope they are out and about for Le Tour.

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