Tour de France 2017 Stage 11 Preview

Stage 11 offers another chance for the sprinters, but the Pyrenees are looming.


Bicycling |

Stage 11 offers another chance for the sprinters, but the Pyrenees are looming.

stage-11_preview2017

Stage 11 brings the Tour de France to the foot of the Pyrenees with a stage finishing in Pau, a city that’s hosted the Tour 68 times, third to only Paris and Bordeaux. The 203.5km stages starts in the small town of Eymet, which is famous for its foie gras.

There’s only one categorised climb, the Category 4 Côte d’Aire sur l’Adour, which comes immediately after the day’s intermediate sprint in a town with the same name. Expect the day’s “Look, Ma, I’m on TV!” breakaway to scoop up maximum points at the sprint and on the climb before the sprinters’ teams start reeling them back in on the rolling roads to Pau.

Stage 11’s finale isn’t as technical as Stage 10’s, but it’s certainly not a straight shot to the finish line. There’s a sharp left-hand turn just before the one-km-to-go banner, followed by a roundabout and two more bends just before the final 500 metres. Luckily the day is expected to be raced under dry, sunny skies.

The way he’s been sprinting, it’s hard to see anyone defeating Quick-Step’s Marcel Kittel, who took his fourth win of the Tour on Stage 10. But Lotto Soudal’s Andre Greipel, Cofidis’s Nacer Bouhanni, and Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff will certainly do their best. A fifth stage win for Kittel would give the German a nearly insurmountable lead in the Tour’s green jersey competition, an impressive feat considering the race is only halfway over.

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