A short stage and coming after the rest day it could prove a shock for some as some riders emerge rested whilst others need a day or two to get back into things although given some recent events everyone will welcome a return to the racing.
It’s a scenic route through the Lot area of France, a peaceful area of France where a lot of foie gras and truffles come from the causse although it ends up in a town famous for coal mining instead of rustic traditions. Cycling-wise the curiosity is the lack of roads in the area, there are very few junctions along the way, yet alone villages and towns.
Note the early intermediate sprint. If you think it’s downhill, you’re right. There’s also a central reservation in the middle of the road during the approach.
Then it’s onto the first climb of the day, 2.3km at 6% in Figeac, not far from where David Moncoutié grew up. The Frenchman is a gifted climber but has been carrying injuries so far this week so he might not be able to shine on local roads. From then on the roads are steady, there are no constant ups and downs. The Côte de Loupiac is an easy 2.5km at 4.1% and the third category Côte de Villefranche de Rouergue is 4.1km at 5.9%, big ring territory. Same again for the final climb at Mirandol, 3.9km at 4.1%.
The finish into Carmaux sweeps downhill, nothing steep but a fast finish with a few curves. There’s a sharp bend at 1km to go and then another with 400 metres to go.
I suspect this will come down to a bunch finish but watch out for a bold late attack as the terrain late in the race could suit an explosive or wily rider.
Weather: hot and sunny, talk of rain and storms has been blown away and the riders can expect warm temperatures and a light headwind. Top temperatures of 31°C (88°F). EDIT: this is the second edit but now there is a weather warning for the stage with storms and hail possible.