The 2012 Tour de France is just two stages away from a rest day, but it won't be an easy two days for the cyclists when they tackle another mountain stage on Sunday. Stating in Limoux and starting in Foix, the riders will travel a total of 191 kilometers.
The riders start this stage riding south before heading in a mostly west direction before making a loop in the Pyrenees near the border with Basque country in Spain. At the 30th kilometer, the cyclists will deal with the Col du Portel, a Category 2 climb that averages a 6.3 percent gradient over 5.3 kilometers. It isn't until much later in the stage at the 126.5 kilometer that the riders will deal with the Category 1 Port de Lers, a Category 1 climb that on for 11.4 kilometers with a seven percent gradient.
But the hardest one is saved for last. At Mur de Péguère, there will be a 9.3 kilometer climb with an average gradient of 7.9 percent, but at some points even higher. As Steephill.tv has in its preview:
Mur de Péguère (profile) is very narrow (video), about the width of a golf cart path, and gets very steep, hitting a maximum grade of 18% (photo). This is where a rider like Vincenzo Nibali (3rd overall + 2:23) could make an attack. Race leader Bradley Wiggins prefers a steady climb so he could be put into a spot of bother here.
Once the cyclists near Foix they will have a flat ride to the finish line.
Start time: 4:20 a.m. MT
Expected finish time: 9:11 a.m. MT
TV: NBC Sports Network, 6:00 a.m. MT