Tony Gallopin shot to victory on Stage 11 of the Tour de France with the Frenchman using the late climbs to his advantage to beat off the challenge of Peter Sagan.
With Stage 12 very similar to yesterday’s terrain a breakaway could have an excellent chance of succeeding again but the sprinters will have other ideas as the race gets ready to move into the mountains.
Oliver Yew looks at three possible contenders for victory as the world’s biggest bike race moves 185.5km from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint Etienne.
Orica-GreenEdge are still without a win at this year’s Tour de France and will be desperate to put that right on Stage 12.
Simon Gerrans is the man most suited to the terrain from the Australian team and he has produced some excellent results in reduced bunch sprints so far this year.
He was fifth in similar conditions yesterday and has some excellent form in the book, winning April’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Milan-San Remo in 2012.
And after signing a new three-year deal to stay with Orica-GreenEdge today could be the day he repays them with a stage win.
The German’s Looto Belisol team will be tested to the limit as they try to get their man to the line to contest a sprint finish.
If the German champion has the legs to keep up with the pace over the hills he could well be the man to take a punt on to cross the line first in Saint-Etienne.
The Slovakian rider is cutting a pretty frustrated figure at the moment and only a stage win will lift the clouds surrounding his mood.
But today could be the perfect day for Sagan with the final climbs not as steep as they were yesterday and with the last descent not as difficult with a longer flat run-in to the line this could finally be his day.
And with today looking like one of his last remaining chances to get on the board for a stage win he will be going all out for victory.
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