The race heads to the Pyrenees but there are no high mountains. Instead the stage finishes outside the Fuerte del Rapitán, the Rapitan Fort that sits high on a hill above the town of Jaca. The climb to the fort has not been used before but it has an irregular gradient and steep sections and 13 hairpin bends in the final 3km.
The Route: all the action is concentrated in the end. The opening 145km offer relative ease and then comes the Puerto del Oroel, a gentle mountain pass that tops 1000m above sea level but with a soft 2.8% slope.
The Finish: the climb to the fort sounds easy with 3.8km at a modest 5.4%. But if the race starts climbing through the town of Jaca but it is with 3km to go that things kick up and a series of 13 hairpin bends begins with ramps at 8%,10%, 14%, 12%, 13% and 8% before the line.
The Scenario: there’s a high chance of a breakaway staying away today but once again the big names will want to be well-placed for the final climb and the pace could pick up later in the stage with the bunch chasing.
The finish today is ideal for someone like red jersey wearer Joaquim Rodriguez but if a breakaway is away it will suit any range of puncheurs, from Philippe Gilbert to Colombian José Sarmiento, Frederik Kessiakoff or even Simon Clarke again. The main thing for TV viewers is that a group arrives together for as triumphant as a solo attack would be, the ramps to the fort are ideal terrain for a battle. Indeed the top riders for the overall can take time if they exploit the hairpins and slopes.
Weather: warm temperatures of 29°C with a 20-30km/h tailwind for the last third of the stage which means they could arrive ahead of schedule.
TV: as usual the last two hours are live from 4.00pm onwards and the finish is planned for 5.30-5.45pm (it could be earlier, note the tailwind). Tune in ahead of the final climb to watch the action.
Local history: the Tour de France visited Jaca in 1991 when Charly Mottet won. The Frenchman had won the previous stage in a breakaway, the race transferred to the Pyrenees on a rest day and then Mottet won again. But the real story was when the race left Jaca to Val Louron as this was the day Miguel Indurain took the yellow jersey, beginning a five-year series on consecutive Tour de France wins.