The Tour de France moves into one of its hardest stages of the race as the peloton goes from St. Gaudens to Plateau de Beille in Stage 14.
Yesterday, world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin) had an impressive win in Stage 13 after attacking out of a breakaway on the Col d'Aubisque.
Although Jeremy Roy passed Hushovd and took the polka dot jersey by climbing the mountain first, Hushovd overtook Roy on the descent and subsequent flat, to handily win the stage.
The peloton generally took it easy yesterday with Thomas Voekler (Europcar) maintaining the yellow jersey.
This was after a major GC battle the day before on Stage 12, which was the first day of the Pyrenees. The GC contenders faced off and it was clear that Cadel Evans, Andy and Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, and Alberto Contador were a cut above the rest of the field.
Today, the GC contenders will have at it again with 6 major climbs on the day. The 168.5 km Stage 14 looks as follows:
142 km to go: Summit of Col de Portet-d'Aspet (Cat 2)
106 km to go: Summit of Col de la Core (Cat 1)
74.5 km to go: Summit of Col de Latrape (Cat 2)
59.5 km to go: Summit of Col d'Agnes (Cat 1)
50.5 km to go: Summit of Port de Lers (Cat 3)
16.5 km to go: Climbing begins Plateau de Beille (Hors Cat)
The stage ends on the famed Plateau de Beille, where the last four winners of this climb went on to win the Tour de France. In fact, it was Contador who last won this climb in 2007 when he won his first Tour.
This year, Contador will have a lot of competition, since the Spanish rider has lost a lot of time to his rivals, even faltering on the final climb in Stage 12.
On that stage Evans and Basso showed they have excellent form this year and will be tough to contend with.
However, Frank and Andy Schleck have the advantage since they can work together and take turns attacking their rivals.
It should be an exciting stage!
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