July 12, 2011
Stage 10 Preview: 158 km Aurillac to Carmaux
This is the shortest stage of the 2011 Tour at 158 kilometers/98.2 miles. The profile looks a little easier than Stage 9, with four categorized climbs, alternating 3rd-4th-3rd and 4th category. The last climb of the day comes with about 15k left after a 20-kilometer downhill, and could possibly be a springboard for an attack to the line.
More likely, though, we'll see the breakaways kept under control. With Thomas Voeckler in yellow, Europcar will check any move that would threaten his lead, and HTC and Garmin (heck, maybe even Movistar for Rojas) will likely work to set up a sprint finish. There are just 4 more stages that look to favor the sprinters: today, tomorrow's Stage 11, Stage 15 on Sunday and the final stage into Paris on the Champs-Élysées. Make me choose a winner for today, and I've gotta go with Cavendish.
The intermediate sprint is only 37 downhill kilometers into the race, so we'll likely see it contested by all the riders with an interest in the green jersey: Gilbert, Rojas, and Cavendish included.
If Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland can ride after his horrific Stage 9 injuries, he should hold the King of the Mountains jersey through the day; he's up by 6 points on Voeckler with only 6 points available to any one rider today.