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Tour de France Stage 8 Preview
Saturday, July 3
Into the Alps
This is the first mountain stage. The start is in the foothills of the Jura, while the final 50 kilometers in the Alps feature three Cat. 1 climbs and a fast descent into Le Grand-Bornand. Compared with the last time a stage finished here in 2018, a short but very steep climb, Mont Saxonnex, has been inserted before the proven combination of the Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière—both of which average almost 9 percent with several double-digit pitches.
Following the immensely demanding stage 7 on Thursday when, notably, pre-race favorite Primož Roglič cracked on the Tour’s first Cat. 2 climb, the big question is: Which of his teammates will prove to be Jumbo-Visma’s best climber, second-placed Wout van Aert or Danish phenom Jonas Vingegaard? In the past, Van Aert has shown he can push the pace on long mountain climbs; this first Alpine stage will show whether he can take on a different role and be the team’s GC leader, supported by Roglič and Vingegaard.
Despite conceding time on Thursday, fifth-placed Tadej Pogačar is still favored to defend his title—though his UAE Emirates teammates will have to be particularly vigilant in the Alps this weekend to control the expected attacks from the INEOS-Grenadiers trio of Richard Carapaz, Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte. As for the stage 8 victory, look to the riders who mostly followed wheels on stage 7: Julian Alaphilippe, Alexey Lutsenko, Rigoberto Urán and Wilco Kelderman.
After a 12km descent, at the end of a 250m straight, slightly uphill, on the 16.4 feet wide Route de la Patinoire.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Cours de Verdun, Valexpo, Oyonnax: 7:10 a.m.; start (after 2.9km neutral to km0), 7:15 a.m.; Frangy (sprint, 106km to go), 8:28 a.m.; Côte de Copponex (cat. 3, 88.9km to go), 8:55 a.m.; Côte de Menthonnex-en-Bornes (Cat. 4, 78.3km to go), 9:12 a.m.; La Côte Peguin (feed zone, 77.5km to go), 9:14 a.m.; Côte de Mont Saxonnex (Cat. 1, 46.8km to go), 10:04 a.m.; Col de Romme (Cat. 1, 28.7km to go), 10:33 a.m.; Col de la Colombière (Cat. 1 + bonus, 14.7km to go), 10:56 a.m.; Le Grand-Bornand (finish, 150.8km), 11:19 a.m.