Tour de france: 5 key stages

Above, the LottoNL-Jumbo team training in Utrecht. Left, Alberto Contador is aiming for the Giro-Tour de France double.
Above, the LottoNL-Jumbo team training in Utrecht. Alberto Contador is aiming for the Giro-Tour de France double.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Above, Alberto Contador is aiming for the Giro-Tour de France double.
Above, Alberto Contador is aiming for the Giro-Tour de France double.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

STAGE 4, JULY 7

Seraing-Cambrai, 223.5km

Anyone already struggling or haemorrhaging time before hitting the cobbles (seven sections totalling 13.3km) would be under pressure and at risk of falling out of contention. A crash on the cobbled stones can result in the loss of several minutes.

STAGE 9, JULY 12

Vannes to Plumelec, 28km team time trial

This team race against the clock is not particularly long but the problem comes from the potential to reach it without a full complement of team-mates. A team not set up with powerful rouleurs built for time trialling that had already lost a couple of riders, would likely lose considerable time.

STAGE 10, JULY 14

Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin, 167km

This is not the toughest mountain stage but it is the first and it comes

straight after a rest day. That makes it tricky because some riders do not react well to having their routine broken up by a rest day.

STAGE 17, JULY 22

Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup, 161km

This is one of two stages where a descent could prove decisive, and with Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador superior descenders to Chris Froome or Nairo Quintana, those two stages could prove critical.

STAGE 20, JULY 25

Modane Valfrejus to Alpe d'Huez, 110.5km

This is not as tough a mountain stage as the previous day's with more climbs to crest but it will be the last-chance saloon. As it is the last chance to gain time before riding into Paris, the challengers to the overall leader will be forced to give it everything to make up for lost ground.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'TOUR DE FRANCE: 5 KEY STAGES'. Print Edition | Subscribe