Twice first category and once outside category. In the eighth stage of the Tour de France, one day after the spectacular fan stage, the peloton moves into the Pyrenees. The stage doesn’t have an uphill finish, but the classification men will be moving, Tom Dumoulin expects.
“I do expect a race. The Pyrenees are not super relaxed this year, it’s only two stages”, says the number five of the general classification.
The start of the stage is still flat, but more than fifty kilometers after the start in Cazères-sur-Garonne the riders will start at the Col de Menté of the first category. They reach the top sixty kilometers before the finish.
Two more Pyrenean Cols
After the descent follows the first climb of the outdoor category of the 107th Tour de France: the Port de Balès, 11.7 kilometers of climbing at 7.7 percent.
Fifteen kilometers later follows the last climb of the day, the Col de Peyresourde (first category), after which it’s another eleven kilometers down to the finish in Loudenvielle.
Last Thursday there were attacks between the classification men on the Col de la Lusette (first category) and on Tuesday on the climb to Orcières-Merlette the favourites left each other alone until the last hundreds of meters.
So Dumoulin is expecting a race today, just like Trek team leader Steven de Jongh. His two classification riders, Bauke Mollema and Richie Porte, lost one minute and twenty seconds through the fans on Friday and will be keen on revenge. “If there’s a chance, you want to make up for it every day.”
The position in the top of the classification:
Jumbo-Visma made an excellent impression in the first seven stages. Primoz Roglic seems to be the strongest rider uphill, but hasn’t been tested very much yet. Can and does he want to ride Adam Yates out of the yellow jersey today? And what can Egan Bernal, the reigning Tour winner, who isn’t very convincing yet, but still stands neatly in fourth place?
Ineos team leader Servais Knaven is not worried about his leader. “He’s better now than he was last year at the start of the Tour”, says Knaven.
How good Bernal, Dumoulin and Roglic really are today, we’ll know by 5.30pm, when the finish of the first Pyrenean stage is expected.