The Spin: Stage 6

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Stage 6

The longest stage in the race but no marathon. The races leaves Brittany and heads for Normandy and its woodland bocage where they grow the apples to make calvados. Note the presence of three categorised climbs, if a breakaway goes then someone has the chance to take the King of the Mountains jersey, albeit with a slender lead.

Stage 6 sprint

The first climb is the Côte de St Michel de Montjoie, 2.4km at 5.9% and third category. Next up comes the intermediate sprint, a long straight line… but slightly downhill. With a tailwind some sprinters might want a 55T chainring, although maybe not for the finish, more of which in a moment.

Then it’s on to the Côte du Bourg d’Ouilly, 2.7km at 5.6% and again third category. It’s worth noting the names given to these climbs, they’re from ASO and more often than not a côte is just a hill, whereas the proper mountain passes, or cols, have official names. So in this case the hill is in the village of Bourg d’Ouilly. Chances are nobody calls the road in question the Côte du Bourg d’Ouilly.

Then it’s on to the Côte du Billot, 1.3km at 6.5% with 30km to go. If there’s a breakaway up the road this could be the place where someone tries to split things up.

Lisieux finish

Like yesterday the finish is tough, technical and tactical. In fact it’s quite a lot harder than Cap Fréhel. Note the run in from 5km as displayed by the map. Several roundabouts as the race comes in to Lisieux. The notice the gradient, there’s 1.3km at 6% then a rising false flat until the road flattens out with 400m to go. 6% is a gradient capable of ruining many sprinters legs before they see the flamme rouge. It’s also the perfect launchpad for a opportunist rider, especially if there’s a moment’s hesitation when the sprint trains check to see where their sprinter has gone.

Weather: wet at times with cool temperatures of 20°C (68°) but just 15°C (59°) during the rain showers. Winds reaching 30km/h coming from the south-west but with gusts up to 55km/h later in the race. A tailwind almost all day, which can favour a breakaway.

Stage 6b: cross the finish line and there’s a two hour transfer for all the teams to their hotel near Le Mans.

Ankush July 7, 2011 at 8:12 am

liking the Spin. Another feature which will be very handy to see is your bet for the stage win. Given the hillier finish today could we see Gilbert to vie for it again?

C Grade Cyclist July 7, 2011 at 8:30 am

Maybe a stage for Hushovd tonight, with the climb near the end??

Although with the multiple cotes, could be a breakaway stage for one of the stronger riders, like Chavanel or Voeckler (if Chavanel has recovered from yesterday’s injuries)…

936ADL July 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

Another excellent spin.

These articles have become essential reading each morning!!!

tislavold July 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

Sir, this is the maillot jaune of blogs.

GluteCramp July 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

I must echo tislavold’s sentiments – this is the first shortcut in my favourites bar and for a very good reason!

I’m guessing this stage finish will be one of Hushovd’s targets. He should be able to get over the final cote and still have enough in the tank to fight for the win. I’d say Goss is another but I’m not sure how he’s going – HTC seem to be playing a different game this year so it’s harder to tell who’s got form (but more on that over on the Cavendish article).

Berkem July 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

Top job !

all the best!

The Inner Ring July 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

Thanks all for the nice words. If you have any suggestions and feedback, let me know. It’s easy to add more info if you’d like it.

Ankush: the trouble with picking riders to win is that it’s so hard. With up to 198 riders present, some might have bigger chances than others but naming the winner in advance is just a guess. So I try to focus on the things we can predict. But today look out for Goss, Hushovd, Gilbert, Rojas, Feillu, Boasson Hagen… but I could name several more.

Ian July 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

“Sir, this is the maillot jaune of blogs.” – hear hear

That final climb must be very close to being a cat4 – interesting

daniel alpin July 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

i cannot see how you could improve it but if you have more info that you aren’t putting in i’d welcome it!!!!

TheOuterRing July 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

I can see where Cav was going yesterday with the ASO anti pure sprinter rant.

If Gilbert keeps up with these top 5 finishes could he be looking green in Paris as he is contesting the intermediate sprints more and more? Also Greipel might be the best leadout Gorila out there(any pols to confirm?).

Flashing Pedals July 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

at some point, the daily ‘suicide break’ has to stay away.
Historically, it happens every few years, and someone ‘new’ takes the race lead.
The GC contenders are usually content to let this happen, as it relieves them of the pressure of controlling the race.
Whether the sprinters teams – incl Garmin Cervelo will let this occur, is another matter.

But for Cavendish to lose a sprint, you need to isolate his team from their train setup effectiveness.
The only way that happens is by rivals attacking and destroying the flow – so they are used up beforehand.
Greipel, can’t count on a similar type train, so he has to scab off anyone else, but that also includes a team mate who has green jersey aspirations….
Farrar, well his team is the most likely, with Hushovd – but as they are stage hunting this year, do they want to control the stage to the benefit of HTC ?

Look to the other teams with reasons to attack….

Ian July 7, 2011 at 11:21 am

Caveat – I am a Cav Fan

Flashing Pedals – Cav looked pretty isolated yesterday. The team’s flow was flow disrupted.

Martin, Veilts and Cav were on there own. Renshaw finished over 2minutes down Goss 32s back but was involved initially (I think) though I am not sure as eurosport and ITV had conflicting commentary.

Though in typing this I agree in part that if HTC try and their train going and it goes wrong Cav struggles but as yesterday showed he can borrow other people’s wheels with the best of them

LeonG July 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

Judging by what we have seen so far, his stage may not be so straightforward either. I would not bet on anyone in particular.

PJ July 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

On a different note, in the wake Cav’s win yesterday did anyone else notice that the last 3 stages have be won by riders from 3 different English-speaking nations? Stage 3: Farrar (USA); Stage 4: Evans (Australia); Stage 5: Cavendish (UK). I wonder if that has ever happened before? If anything, it is symptomatic of the interest that pro cycling and the TdF now generates in these countries. So the smart money is on either Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) or Julian Dean (New Zealand) ‘getting the chocolates’ at the end of today’s stage.

STB July 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I think today will be similar to Stage 1. GC riders will watch each other and be near the front to avoid losing time. Green jersey teams will also be trying to get points. So the usual suspects of Evans, Gilbert, Husvold, Schleck, Rojas, etc will be close to the front. The first few days have been hard and tiring, plus Gilbert and Husvold have already got stage wins, so today could be a day they allow a break to succeed.

Starr July 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Rojas for the win.
JJ is pissed and will want to prove he is worthy of the “stolen” green jersey.
He’ll play off Gilbert and nip Phillipe at the line through pure revenge.

MikeH July 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

This is required reading now, great smart stuff, Gibert for the win, Cav showed what he can do yesterday, and hmm I’m underwhelmed by Farrar ( am I wrong?)

MikeH July 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Uh, I meant Gilbert, duh

Lucero July 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Well done Inner Ring. Your six choices for first place all finished in the top seven!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: