Date: Thursday July 14 (Bastille Day)
Finish: Alpe d’Huez
Distance: 166 km
A stage starting in Briançon and finishing atop Alpe d’Huez while also taking in the Galiber (again) and the Col de la Croix de Fer. On Bastille Day!? You don’t get much more Tour de France than this. And this stage has heritage too. It’s an almost exact replica of the same route from 1986, when Bernard Hinault was the winner on the day after his famous duel with Greg LeMond.
There will be plenty of stationary trainers in use at the start. Almost immediately, the peloton tackles the Galibier once again from the opposite side to what they rode a day earlier, swooping down past the Col du Télégraphe this time, through the valley and up to the Col de la Croix de Fer. The first two classified climbs of the day see the peloton going uphill for 52 km at an average gradient of around 5.2%. Then there’s 40 km of respite as the bunch descends down onto the flat run-up to Alpe d’Huez. The Alpe is 13.8 km long at an average gradient of 8.1%.
Who will win stage 12?
After stage 11, it’s anyone’s guess what could happen on the road to the Alpe d’Huez. One thing that has become rather unlikely is that a breakaway will be allowed to go the distance, but there’s a large pot of KOM points to fight over along the way, so there’s a decent chance we’ll see some of the same faces as Wednesday , that’s Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic), Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) and Simon Geschke (Cofidis), that’s if they’re not utterly knackered. Perhaps with added Thibaut Pinot (Grouupama-FDJ) for a Bastille Day rampage.
The chances are it’ll be a GC race once again. Geraint Thomas was the victor the last time the Tour went up this mythical climb, clad in the yellow jersey after taking the stage win the day before, and the Welshman is very close to the podium after rolling the clock back on stage 11. You can bet he’ll want to add to his Tour mythology with a similar statement.
But there’s one man who is out for revenge, and that’s Tadej Pogačar, so expect him to go all in. However, if he’s marked out of contention by the team of new leader Jonas Vingegaard, then maybe one of the Frenchmen can sneak away from the GC group for a Bastille Day win: Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu or second-overall Romain Bardet?