Stage 13 preview: Tour de France 2017
The second day in the Pyrenees is the shortest road stage of the race, at just over 101 kilometres. Don’t be fooled though, it includes three Category 1 climbs, which should see an aggressive Stage 13.
Starting in the town of Saint-Girons, the first 25 kilometres gradually rise, before the first climb of the day. Incorporated into the first quarter of the stage is the intermediate sprint in the town of Seix, after 13.5 kilometres of racing.
It is all but assured that Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) will take the green jersey at the end of the race, however Michael Matthews still has a glimmer of hope in that competition.
The first climb of the day starts just after 25 kilometres, with the Col de Latrape. The Category 1 climb is 5.6 kilometres long at an average gradient of 7.3 per cent, with the steepest gradients of 11.5 per cent.
It is then a short descent before the longest climb of the stage, the Col d Agnes, with just over 60 kilometres to go. The ten kilometre climb averages 8.2 per cent, with gradients of above 13 per cent.
A technical descent follows, which could see a team like AG2R attack on the descent, similar to what they did on Stage 9. There is no question that Romain Bardet is by far the best descender out of the general classification contenders.
The final climb starts with 35 kilometres to go. Yes, it is not a summit finish today; which seems crazy as the final climb of the Mur de Peguere is absolutely brutal.
While the climb is only 9.3 kilometres at an average gradient of 7.9 per cent, with the final three kilometres averaging over 11.5 per cent, there are gradients of 18 per cent with two kilometres from the top of the climb.
Again, crazy that this is not the finishing climb.
The last 27 kilometres consist of a flowing descent, which may not offer the opportunity for an attack.
Today on paper looks like a stage which Team Sky should be able to control, but this Tour has been full of the unexpected. Expect the opportunists to try their hand and go for the stage win.