Stage 8 preview
Course: This stage isn’t one to miss, as the GC battle heats up with the first Pyrenean mountain stage of the Tour. The route is short, at only 140 kilometers, but it takes in 3,518 meters of climbing (11,500 feet) over three massive category 1 climbs: the Col de Menté, Port de Balès, and Col de Peyresourde, before the fast descent into Loudenvielle. Expect fireworks on the final two climbs. This short stage could also spell disaster for the heavy sprinters, some of whom could be time cut.
Favorites: Egan Bernal, Primož Roglič, Nairo Quintana, Thibaut Pinot
Jens Voigt’s take: I am so tempted to use my most hated phrase: “Today the real Tour starts!” Today is a killer, and it comes after a week of stressful and hard racing. The route is just 140km with three KOM climbs: Col de Menté, Port de Balès and the Peyresourde, each of them pretty steep. And there’s a super-fast descent into the finish. Today, you have to be strong and daring. We will see two races: pure survival for the sprinters, and all-in for yellow with the big guns. Advantage: Team Jumbo-Visma.