TDF 2012 St 17. Today is the stage that I have been looking forward to the most since I had a proper look at the various stage profiles back in early June.

It is a genuine belter!

The back end of the race includes an Hors Categorie climb immediately followed by a First Categorie climb.

The profile from today is reminiscent of the stage where Wiggo lost his place on the podium to Lance back in 2009, without the descent to the finish (so it’s even harder).

A cracking stage, or a bit of a damp squib? We’ll see later!

To be honest, Wiggo and Froomey have looked in control at all times, and I can’t see how they could fail to control everything again today.

Sky have been dominant, and all kudos to them. However, this is sport, and there’s always a chance!

If there were a universal karmic balance-type of being out there, then it would be fair for Vincenzo Nibali to finally crack the two Sky lads at least once and at least gain a little bit of time on them.

He won’t get the overall win out of anything he does tonight, but he has been a great addition to the headlines of the race. Tonight is his final shot at pulling this off, and I can’t imagine him doing anything other than going down all guns blazing.

For the win tonight, I’m on Scarponi – he finished with the grupetto yesterday, meaning he’s either sick as a dog, or was saving himself for tonight.

My money’s on the latter. For second, I’m thinking Nibali, and third Froomey.