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Date: Thursday, July 13
Distance: 214.5km (133.3mi)
Starting in the “Gateway to the Pyrenees,” Stage 12 certainly lives up to that title finishing with two brutal climbs which is sure to reshuffle the general classification standings once more. The longest mountain stage of tour, expect Chris Froome and his dominant Team Sky to try and distance his rivals on the final climbs of the day. Fabio Aru (Astana) sits at only 18 seconds down on the defending champion and could use the stage as a springboard to get ahead as the finish suits the punchy Italian. After the drama of the last mountain stage which saw Richie Porte (BMC Racing) crash out and other high-profile names lose time, this is sure to be another stage to keep your eye on.
Christian Prudhomme, race director: “The longest stage of the Pyrenean stay will be made of an extremely difficult sequence of climbs. As kilometres are covered, it’ll only get harder with the climb up to the Col de Menté, even more selective with the Port de Balès and will become a real agony for the legs in the new final climb to Peyragudes. In the final kilometre, on the runway of the only airport of the Pyrenees, will be a passage at 16% over a distance of 200 metres.”
Chris Froome, Team Sky: “We have two uphill finishes left, and tomorrow is one of them. I think it’s going to help shape the GC further. We don’t want to let any people come back on GC, so we will want to control things, and not allow GC guys who have lost time to come back into the game. I don’t need to attack, but let’s see what happens out on the road.”
Romain Bardet, Ag2r La Mondiale: “Tomorrow is the queen stage of the Pyrenees, but there are several queen stages on the Tour. It’s an important stage. Another uphill finish, I hope that we’ll see a great battle. We’ll do the best we can. It’s a marathon stage of 200 km, it’s the kind of stage I like.”