Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier 176.6km.
This stage of the grand tour has most definitely got the word ‘sprint’ associated to it. The riders set off, heading west towards Montpellier and after 100km there are no inclines of note. Due to the flatness of the stage the most important factor the riders will be concerned with is the weather. The temperature can creep up in the area and due to the long ride yesterday the heat could mean some cyclists begin to struggle.
Another factor riders will have to take into account is the wind. Riders will be reminding themselves of a similar stage in 2009 into La Grande Motte. As the peloton moved into the final stages some riders realised that a sharp turn would result in a heavy crosswind. 29 riders including Mark Cavendish who eventually won the stage, took advantage of this and sped ahead to the finish.
Nicolas Portal, said: “The first 60km of this stage and the next one to Albi are open and windy. Although the terrain is not tricky, the GC riders will have to stay focused as there are lots of roundabouts and traffic islands…” (www.cyclingnews.com)