Tour de France Stage 11: Possibly the Fastest Stage of the Tour
Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers
Stage 11 should be one of the most straightforward of the 2020 Tour de France. It’s short, offers no major difficulties, and if there’s a tailwind as the race heads inland from the Atlantic coast, could have one of the fastest average speeds of any stage.
The day begins along the beach in Châtelaillon-Plage and then heads northwest toward Poitiers, which hosts the Tour for the ninth time. Along the way, there’s a Category 4 climb just outside of Cherveux (91 km) followed by the Intermediate Sprint in Les Grands Ajoncs (108km).
But other than that, there’s little to write home about until the race hits Poitiers. The finish is fairly straightforward save for two tight left-hand corners at about 3,300- and 2,500-meters to go. The final kilometer is almost perfectly straight, so the sprinters should have little trouble setting themselves up for the final dash to the line.
Will it be the fastest ever? The fastest massed-start stage was in 1999 from Laval to Blois (194.5 km), won by Mario Cipollini at 50.4 km/h. For reference, that equates to a 2h26 Cape Town Cycle Tour…
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Assuming there are no crashes, there should be no major changes to the General Classification. Instead, this is a day for the Tour’s green jersey contenders to continue their battle to win the Points Competition, which has become a two-horse race between Quick-Step’s Sam Bennett and BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan. Bennett took back the jersey by winning Stage 10 and now leads Sagan by 21 points.
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This stage should end in a field sprint with Bennett, Sagan, and Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan the top favorites to win the day. Team Sunweb seems to be getting its act together in support of Cees Bol, so keep an eye on the young Dutchman as well. We reckon Sam Bennett will have enjoyed his first taste of Tour victory yesterday, and will be more than ready to emulate compatriot Sean Kelly, the fastest man in Poitiers, way back in 1978!