After Friday's crash-filled Stage 6 that saw 22-year-old Peter Sagan capture his third victory so far, the 2012 Tour de France begins its week-long stretch of mountain stages. Stage 7 runs 199 kilometers from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges.
In the eastern portion of the country, the cyclists travel southeast to reach close to the Swiss border, though they'll be closer to it on Sunday during Stage 8. But Stage 7 offers three categorized climbs. The first two are both classified at Category 3, taking place at Col de Grosse Pierre (112 km) and Col du Mont de Fourche (150.5 km). Both are 3.1 kilometers long and come in at a 6.4 percent gradient.
The last climb is the race to the summit at La Planche des Belles Filles. This is one of just three summit finishes during this Tour. Starting at the 193rd kilometer, cyclists first face a 13 percent gradient that transitions to 11 percent at point during the middle and then 14 percent at the finish line. Overall, the average gradient is 8.5 percent.
Fabian Cancellara still wears the yellow jersey on Saturday, but it is likely we will finally see a new maillot jaune leader and a major change in the overall standings behind the new leader.
Start time: 6:10 a.m. MT
Expected finish time: 9:13 a.m. MT
TV Coverage: Head to NBC to catch live action beginning at 6 a.m. MT.
SB Nation Denver is your source for 2012 Tour de France updates on Team Garmin-Sharp, and be sure to visit cycling blog Podium Cafe as well.