Big question: are the GC guys going to control the race, or will they grant a group of escapees a chance to shine? Obviously this will depend on the constitution of the front group. If there is nobody aboard who could threaten the yellow jersey, then the break could be off for glory in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
In stage 5 Tom Dumoulin, Mikel Landa, Rui Costa and Tony Gallopin lost so much time no one will bother if they break clear early on. And for Froome it could be a tactical move to have Poels, Landa or Nieve in the break to help him when there is the need. If there’s no such need, they would be granted the chance to shine themselves. Same scenario with Nibali and Grivko (for Aru) and Herrada or Oliveira (for Quintana).
And let’s not forget about an inveterate attacker such as De Gendt. He could be up for some KOM point and head for the stage win while he is at it. Riders like Pauwels, Pantano and Plaza would be happy to be in the break, too.
When the race boils down to a battle among the big guys, climbers withgood descending skills and a fast sprint are favoured.
Favourites 8th stage Tour de France 2016:
*** Mikel Landa, Vicenzo Nibali, Jesús Herrada, Wout Poels, Tom Dumoulin, Rubén Plaza
** Mikel Nieve, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin, Andrei Grivko, Nelson Oliveira, Serge Pauwels
* Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali, Daniel Martin, Jarlinson Pantano, Joaquim Rodriguez
Tour de France 2016 stage 8: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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Climb details Col du Tourmalet
Climb details Col de Val Louron-Azet
Climb details Col de Peyresourde