The Spin: Stage 11

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Stage 11

Today’s start and finish are not far from each other but the organisers have chosen a big S-shaped route instead of a straight line. Even so it’s 167.5km, one of the shorter stages of the Tour. With two small hills along the way there’s every chance this ends in a bunch sprint, especially as tomorrow sees the high mountains, it’s the last chance for the sprinters for a while.

The terrain isn’t hard, the race will pass farmland and a few vineyards and roll through sleepy towns built of pink bricks where normally the only visible life in the afternoon are a few dogs trotting about. Expect photos of the bunch rolling past sunflowers.

The intermediate sprint is mid-stage, maybe a breakaway will sweep up some points but it’s not a tricky run in, being wide and flat for the last two kilometres. The same is true for the whole day.
Stage 11

There’s not much more to stay about the stage! I’ve scanned the profiles, I’ve checked the route but there’s nothing tactical to note. The run in to Lavaur is straight and flat, a finish to delight sprinters and their team trains but thwart the ambitions of anyone else.

A few riders are almost local, like Ag2r’s Blel Kadri and Jean-Christophe Péraud but they’ll struggle to find an opportunity today.

Weather: rain showers forecast but clearing for later, with top temperatures of 21°C (70°F). A 20-30km/h wind should not cause too much damage but the route goes in an S-shape so the direction varies for the race, and finishes with a headwind.

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{ 6 comments }

Ankush July 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

With a flat stage like this, HTC-Highroad’s train will crush anyone in their path. No chance for Greipel to repeat his feat from yesterday, I think Cavendish will prevail this time or may be not.

Bundle July 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

It’s obviously Cav today. Let’s see how many points Gilbert and Rojas manage to score, but on the whole, a 4-hour yawn. I can’t believe it. We’re more than halfway into the Tour; there is, logically, immense expectation, and even starvation for the real mountain. And ASO makes endure a terrible useless bore, that is not even long enough to weigh on riders’ legs for tomorrow. Today would have been perfect for a long TT… The only possible interest is that the breakaway can seriously challenge the peloton so that we have some uncertainty towards the end. I’ll say it again: 4 or 5 riders is not enough. A successful breakaway, on a stage like this, requires at least 12 riders.

Steve July 13, 2011 at 9:33 am

I vote for 10 man break including Hoogerland, Flecha, Chavenal and Pineau, perhaps Casar. Flecha and Hoogerland go over together for dead heat.

There, that isnt so boring is it!

ScienceTwitt July 13, 2011 at 10:12 am

Really would like to see Feillu get one. He trashes about on that bike in a possibly very dangerous manner but seems to have turns of speed if he could only keep it flowing in a straight line. I wonder what others think of him?

El Tejan July 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm

@ScienceTwitt – I believe cav called him a dangerous ”kamikazee” for what it’s worth.

Bundle July 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Why on earth was Lampre chasing if Petacchi was not going to dispute the sprint??

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