Stage 8 will be the second last stage before the first race day and the last mass stage before tomorrow’s Team Time Trial. The Tour has more or less covered the northern parts of France and will end in Brittany. The tour starts in the city of Rennes and will finish atop the Mûr-de-Bretagne.
Most of the first half of the 181.5km stage is relatively flat till we reach the first categorized climb (category 4) at the 99.5km mark. The riders who are looking for points, will want to quickly organize themselves for a slight uphill intermediate sprint at the 107km mark. This might be Greipel ‘s last chance to really take points over Sagan and his other sprinting rivals.
Like Stage 3, today has a hilltop finish on Mûr-de-Bretagne. This might be the first opportunity for some General Contender to really bring the hammer down on his rivals and who knows, Froome might be looking to do as he did in stage 3 when he finished second behind Rodriguez. This is the second time Mûr-de-Bretagne is visited in 4 years and it was where, Cadel Evans took a stage win in 2011.
The climb will be more challenging this year as the climb will be slow with the cyclists arriving at the base from a right hand hairpin and there will be no excuse for any General Contender to fall. This might be the stage that has been eluding Sagan, given his better Mountain climbing prowess over other Sprinters. Expect other mountain climbers or the favorites to however hammer their way up the climb.
An outside favourite will be Warren Barguil, who was born in the region of Brittany and might really want to get a win here. The youngster is well positioned in the General Classification and Young Riders Classification.
The Top 20 in the General Classification is as
The Top 20 in the Points Classification is as
The jersey’s that will be worn today
Maillot Juane (Yellow Jersey)
Having already worn the Yellow Jersey this tour, Froome officially donned the Yellow Jersey on stage 7’s podium after leader Tony Martin pulled out. Froome now has a slim lead over Sagan and van Garderen with a 11 and 13 second cushion respectively but will be more than pleased to be the best positioned versus his rivals as we approach the mountains.
Maillot Vert (Green Jersey)
Andre Griepel’s lead in the Points classification has fallen. From a commanding 50 point lead a couple of days ago, Griepel now leads Sagan by 12 points as both Cavendish and Degenklob have found their sprinting feet. With the mountains appearing, his chances of earning points are slimmer compared to Sagan.
Maillot Blanc (White Jersey)
Peter Sagan continues to lead the White Jersey and its surprising to see him high up the General Classification. However, this is partly thanks to the bonus seconds awarded. With the Mountains in the Pyrenees and Alps on the Horizon, expect other overall contenders to push him down the order as he tries to defend his Green Jersey.
King of the Mountains (Polka dot jersey)
Daniel Teklehaimanot continues to lead the standsings. The last 4 categorized climbs has been taken by the African rider. Today with a category 4 climb and a Category 3 climb finish, he may try to take the single point. But until Stage 10, The Polka dot jersey will be his.
Best Team (Yellow helmets and the rider’s number on a yellow background)
As with the White Jersey, BMC have maintained their lead in the team standings as they have had a healthy rider in keeping van Garderen safe and in the top 3 of the General Classification. They might have a good chance of winning the team time trial tomorrow.
Most Combative Rider (Number in a red background)
Anthony Delaplace was given the most combative rider award at the end of the 7th stage and will be wearing his rider number in a red background.