Tour de France 2014 Favourites Stage 8: 3 climbs in the finale to suit the puncheurs
A very spicy finale today after a flat build up. Three climbs follow in quick succession, the last a 1.8 kilometre ascent with a healthy 10.3% average gradient. The second climb features a section at 16%. It could be one for the puncheurs with the GC men staying well alert. (Slideshow route/profile)
Not one for the high mountains but Sagan cannot be ruled out on a finish like today. If he recaptures the form shown in the 2012 Tour, he could be unstoppable. The Slovak has serious power sprinting uphill and if still in the mix on the final climb, it’s hard to see anybody beating him.
With no Gilbert present, Valverde (image) will see today as an opportunity of a stage win, but also a chance to put some time into his GC rivals. While Contador and Nibali may be better in the high mountains, this type of terrain is Valverde’s bread and butter, so don’t be surprised to see him attack the final climb like he did for his Fleche Wallone victory in the Spring.
The Aussie is getting better with age, winning his second monument at Liege this year as well the Tour Down Under and the Australian national championships. He can hang in there on short sharp climbs and has a fast finish so will surely see today as an opportunity for a stage win.
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