The overall top three for the TDF 2012 is virtually locked in after the Pyrenees, with the likely result of the final time trial being to simply confirm the dominance of the two Sky boys, and shuffle a few of the lower places.
Prior to that, we have a 221km stage that nominally should be a sprint stage, but likely sprint teams will need to be motivated to control things as it is a very tough day in the saddle.
Exhaustion for those who are already exhausted.
Firstly, such a long stage at such a late point is tough, and secondly, the profile (and knowing the area from races I’ve been to in previous years) is almost NEVER flat.
This is a total headwreck of a day – it is mentally exhausting to be constantly up and down little rollers, and in and out of corners. Riders need to concentrate all day to avoid crashes and be in the right place at the right time.
Translation: it wouldn’t be a surprise if the break stays away!