The 2011 Tour de France will host the longest portion of this year's race when the riders leave Dinan and head for Lisieux. For a bit of a geography lesson, the race is to the south of the English Channel and from where the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in World War II. While they are still far south of Caen and St. Lo, the cyclists do pass through Avranches and Falaise.
This segment runs for 226.5 km (141 mi) and features three climbs. The first two are Category 3 at 5.9 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. The first comes at Côte de Saint-Michel de Montjoie at the 99.5 km mark and the second at Côte du Bourg d'Ouilly at the 156.5 km location. A Category 4 climb arrives a little while later at 197th kilometer in Côte du Billot. In between the first two climbs there will be a three kilometer sprint at Vassy.
This could be the stage in which we see the real contenders emerge with such a difficult route to ride. Garmin-Cervelo's Thor Hushovd continues to wear the yellow jersey, but will he be able to hold out for another day?
Check out VERSUS at 6 a.m. MT for live coverage of this daunting stage.