At 167.5km, this is the shortest stage of the opening week. The rolling terrain may encourage attacks, but with a fast, straight run in to St. Dizier, it will almost certainly end in a mass sprint— and perhaps in a Tour road stage record speed to top the 50.355 kph (31.289 mph) set by Mario Cipollini at Blois in 1999.
7/8/2003 Start Time: 1:17:00pm
7/8/2003 Estimated Finish Time: 5:22:00pm
This is the first time that St. Dizier, a town of 35,000, has been included on the Tour route. Besides the novelty of seeing the world’s biggest bike race, the crowds will be rooting for one of the Nazon brothers from nearby Épinal to pull off the stage win. Neither 29-yearold Damien Nazon of La Boulangère nor 26-year-old Jean-Patrick Nazon of Jean Delatour has won a Tour stage, but Damien came close last year with a third place (behind Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke) on the Champs-Élysées.