Tour de France Stage 12 Preview
Thursday, July 8
Watch for the crosswinds
This is a picture-postcard stage. It could have followed the Rhône Valley to the coastal plains. Instead, stage 12 heads west into the fringes of the Massif Central. It first weaves through the hills above the Ardèche canyon to Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, and then meanders south through rolling terrain—but the route is never too difficult. Any danger will come from the wind. There are several changes of direction before reaching the intermediate sprint at Uzès, and the final 28 kilometers might see crosswinds that could cause some real damage. After race leader Pogačar’s signs of fatigue on Mont Ventoux, the Slovenian and his UAE teammates will have to be on high alert. If the winds don’t materialize, the finish in the Roman city of Nîmes should be a done deal for the sprinters. Another one for Cavendish?
After 5.8km on the streets of Nîmes, at the end of a flat 1,000m straight on the 19.6 feet wide Avenue Président Salvador-Allende.
SCHEDULE (all times EDT)
Ceremonial start, Place de la Libération, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux: 7:30 a.m.; start on D59 (after 4.4km neutral to km0), 7:40 a.m.; Saint-Martin d’Ardèche (138.5km to go), 8:40 a.m.; Vallon-Pont d’Arc (101.8km to go), 9 a.m.; Côte du Belvedere de Tharaux (Cat. 3, 75.7km to go), 9:37 a.m.; Uzès (sprint, 26.7km to go), 10:45 a.m.; Nîmes (finish, 159.4km), 11:22 a.m.
Analysis by Thierry Gouvenou and John Wilcockson.