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Tour de France Advances: Key Stages and Predictions for Climbers and Sprinters

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Explore the key stages of the Tour de France, including hilly, mountain, and flat routes. Learn about the top climbers and sprinters to watch and the challenges they face.

Tour de France: Key Stages and Predictions

Stage 1: Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot

The second half of the Tour de France kicks off with a hilly stage between Aurillac and Villeneuve-sur-Lot. This 203.6 km route includes three 4th category climbs, such as the Côte de Rocamadour, which stretches for 2 km at a 5.8% gradient. The peloton will start from the Cantal Aurillac prefecture, traverse the Lot, and finish in Lot-et-Garonne. The race director, Thierry Gouvenou, notes that the final kilometer is a magnificent straight line, ideal for sprinters to control the finale.

Stage 2: Évaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran

The peloton faces a grueling mountain stage with over 4,300 meters of elevation gain. This 211 km stage in the Massif Central includes challenging climbs like the Col de Néronne, Puy Mary Pas de Peyrol, Col de Pertus, and Col de Font de Cère. The climbers have a significant opportunity to shine, especially in the last 50 km. The stage starts at 11:20 a.m. from Évaux-les-Bains and ends between 4:54 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. in Lioran. Notable landmarks include the Saint-Pierre de Messeix church, a historic monument.

Stage 3: Orléans to Saint-Amand-Montrond

Following a rest day, the peloton embarks on a seemingly peaceful 187.3 km stage from Orléans to Saint-Amand-Montrond. However, the route poses hidden challenges, especially with side winds that could scatter the riders. The stage features three direction changes in the last 30 km, making the possibility of edging very real. The stage starts at 1:25 p.m. from Orléans and is expected to finish between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. in Saint-Amand-Montrond. Noteworthy sights include the village of Mennetou-sur-Cher, known for its historical significance and local delicacies.

Predictions and Highlights

For the Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot stage, expect the sprinters to dominate the final kilometer. In the Évaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran stage, climbers like Ben Healy or Santiago Buitrago could excel. The Orléans to Saint-Amand-Montrond stage might see Arnaud De Lie finally clinch a victory, given his impressive performance so far. Key terms like 'dancer' and 'put everything to the right' describe the riders' techniques in tackling these challenging stages.

Clam Reports
Refs: | Le Figaro | Le Parisien |

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