Place de l’Ormente, Aime
Flying Start: 1:02 p.m. on N.90
Course: By now, three days before the finish in Paris, most of the
GC positions should be settled, but this final alpine stage of four Cat.
1 climbs could cause some more changes. The climbs of the Cormet de Roseland,
Col des Saisies, Col des Aravis and Col de la Colombière come in
quick succession, and there’s a plunging 20km descent preceding the finish in Cluses.
History: Only one stage of the Tour has finished at Cluses —
that was in 1994. The stage came at a similar time in the race, with Induráin
holding the yellow jersey by 7:21 over Virenque. But Virenque was about
to lose that position to the Latvian Piotr Ugrumov, who attacked on the
second-to-last climb and won the stage into Cluses by 2:39 over Induráin.
Favorites: The stage winner will be someone who can climb well,
and also go downhill very fast. As in 1994, the overall win might be locked
up, but there will still be a battle for the placings. Look out for a battle
between Colombian Botero, the Spaniards Beloki and Sevilla, and maybe the
Americans Hamilton, Julich and Leipheimer. Botero is the most likely winner.