• Nation of Flandria: Calm before the storm…

    by  • July 10, 2012 • too random

    Today is Tour De France rest day.  Let’s take a preview of next week’s stages and gather up all the info to get those bets in on who wins for each stage as well as what can change in the GC.  You know, all those scenarios and predictions stuff.  Good day to spend quality time analyzing, check up on riders and see what the future holds for the racers.  Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the French words, it doesn’t matter but if you want to show off to your bike friends get a hold of those French dictionaries.  If all fails, find someone who speaks French to help.

    Stage 10 Mâcon / Bellegarde-sur-Valserine

    Stage 10 already includes an out of category climb, ouch!  Full guide for Stage 10 here.  Pay attention to the time table, mountain passes as well as the intermediate sprint points.  Note that the last kilometer of this is a little incline so if it ends up as a bunch sprint which I highly doubt, it will be interesting.  The video analysis is calling for a possible break away and definitely agree that is a big probability.  Maybe Froome will win this stage…but that’s going to be insane.  The important thing to really watch for in this is how Cadel and Wiggins will look like during the stage.

    One thing not mentioned is the heat.  Summer can be brutal in the valley in France.  Note that the finish is right by Annecy which claims to have the cleanest water in all of France.  It’s a beautiful lake with lots of mountain climbs and recommended late evening dinners by the bridges while watching swans.

    Stage 11 Albertville / La Toussuire - Les Sybelles

    Stage 11 not only has an out of category but two of it!  Double ouchie.  Full guide for Stage 11 here.  The climb up Madeleine for mere mortal is a never ending climb however, mixed in with many fans cheering on and fans camped out waiting for the racers to come by is an unforgettable time.  Pack your bags and fly to France to watch it live, you won’t regret it!  France’s roads are super smooth and ideal for bikes.  There’s no potholes or gravel, just pure pleasure in riding on very well made roads.  There are no rules enforced blasting down the hill and dodging cars, campers, fans or vendors.  Once the riders all go by, everyone is on their own.  Also, be ready to eat a lot of those Jambon Frommage baguettes.  Mountain stages are cool because that’s where the party is, at the top and on the way up!

    Another day to find out who gets shaken up in the GC.  Possible good fight to the finish and others losing time.  The uphill finish at the end of 6% for 18 km will be brutal.  Sprinters are going to hate this stage!

    Stage 12 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Annonay Davézieux

    Ahhh,  a little break for the sprinters – NOT!  Full guide for Stage 12 here.  More climbing.  Check out those two Cat 1 climbs at the beginning but short.  It can shell riders off the bat leaving those who can muster the pain for a nice little break after the second Cat 1 until the end.  Mind you, this is right after 2 days of big mountain stages!

    Stage 13 Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux / Le Cap d'Agde

    Sprinters, you can breathe now…Full guide for Stage 13 here. This is good stuff, sprinters day!  Who survived the mountains and will there be crashes this day?  Anything can happen but this day is most possibly a good day for Sagan to win the stage.  Sagan is so animated on his finishes the crowd loves it and so does his remote fans.  Go Sagan!

    Stage 14 Limoux / Foix

    Full guide for Stage 14 here.  The Pyrenees is here.  Another stage with a kicker at the last kilometer and some sections with 18% grade.   Ridiculous.  Check out tourist attaction section of the guide if you are into wine and good food in the Limoux.  Salted liver artichokes with white wine sounds very Frenchy!  An all arounder is predicted for this stage like Chavanel.  Too bad Voeckler has knee problems.  Voeckler would be attacking to win this stage!

    Stage 15 Samatan / Pau

    Full guide for Stage 15 here. Stage before another rest day.  Oh what a delightful profile!  I am hoping Petacchi would get a win in Stage 15.   Note that the city of Samatan’s specialty is foie gras!  Last final kilometer is super super flat!  Sprinters day and a great way to lead into a rest day into the bigger mountains in the Pyrénées!

    Viva la Tour de France!

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