Course: On paper, this is the toughest stage of the Tour: six climbs (one Cat. 2, four Cat. 1s and the finish up the hors-cat Pla d’Adet). That’s just over 16,000 feet of climbing in 205.5km, and all ridden on less-than-perfect roads in summer heat or seasonal thundershowers.
History: Pla d’Adet has seen the finish of eight Tour stages in the past 30 years, the most decisive being the Tour-winning solo attacks by Lucien Van Impe in 1976 and Armstrong in 2001.
Favorites: This will be the final mountaintop finish in Armstrong’s storied career. The American would love to come up with another win at Pla d’Adet, but will Basso, Heras, Mayo or Ullrich be in a position to challenge him? The battle could be dramatic.