Preview: What you need to know about stage 8 of the 2021 Tour de France

The first really mountainous stage of this year's Tour.

by Dane Cash

Date: Saturday July 3
Start: Oyonnax
Finish: Le Grand-Bornard
Distance: 151 km

Stage 8 brings with it the first real taste of the mountains. After a third-category and fourth-category climb, there’s a sequence of three, back-to-back, first-category climbs, increasing in altitude each time.

Those climbs (the first Cat 1s of the race) are the Côte de Mont-Sayonnex (5.7 km at 8.3%), the Col de Romme (8.8 km at 8.9%), and finally the Col de la Colombière (7.5 km at 8.5%). Bonus seconds are available at the top of the Colombière, after which it’s mostly downhill to the finish, barring a flat final 3 km or so.

What to watch for: Any signs of weakness from the GC contenders.

Who’s it for: Probably for the breakaway, unless the GC teams fancy lighting it up.

Dane Cash’s picks: Given the breakaway’s decent odds of success on this stage, it will be another tough one to predict. If the stage does come down to the early escapees, watch out for Guillaume Martin, Ion Izagirre, Pello Bilbao, and Michael Woods. If things come back together, the yellow jersey hopefuls will be in play. Tadej Pogačar and Richard Carapaz are obviously riders to watch, but I also like Julian Alaphilippe and maybe, just maybe, even Wout van Aert given the flat final kilometers of the stage.

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