Time for the big boys - or the skinny little ones - to shine as we go deep into the Pyrenees with the Col de Menté, Port de Balès and Col de Peyresourde on the menu.
But will it really be a GC contenders' battle, or are they going to save themselves for super Sunday? Could go either way... Cycling Mole thinks not.
Stage 8: Cazères-sur-Garonne - Loudenvielle (141km)
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) This year, I think Alaphilippe wants to be in yellow for a good time, not a long time. The Frenchman is in enjoyably feisty mood and with a short and sharp stage like this, with a potentially decisive descent, I'm hoping he can hang on to Roglič et al on the big climbs.
Davide Formolo (UAE-Team Emirates) Whether or not the GC favourites get frisky today, I expect this Italian flier to stay ahead of them as the best of an elite break. He's lagged behind enough on GC to be allowed to get away.
Daniel Martinez (EF Pro Cycling) I think the big boys will be saving themselves for Sunday. Dani Martinez's GC goose is pretty much cooked, so an early consolation prize on the cards for him.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) Some tactical mastery from Adam Yates on stage 7, it almost looks like he a) knows what he's doing b) might be thinking about the long-game. If that's true, then at some point, he'll need to put in a dig and distance the rest. If he can hold off on the descent then it could be one for the Brit.
Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) “He’s good for at least one stage win this Tour.” That was my line from stage 4. Still holds water. Let’s hope it’s this one. Although the 10km descent to the finish looks like Bardet territory... Might throw Nairo in the mix tomorrow too, just to be safe.
Cycling Moles says...
We drew a blank today, mainly thanks to a full-on charge by Bora. The race is now in the Pyrenees, and we are faced with a cracking looking stage. Short in distance, but full of climbs, including the Port de Balès/Peyresourde double act. It could be one for the breakaway, or it might be a GC day. The lack of a mountaintop finish usually pushes the advantage to the break, but I’m not so sure.
We’ll start with the horrible picks, and we’ve plenty for this stage. Andy and Nick are going for the breakaway, but I’m not a fan of their selections. Formolo will surely be working in the peloton for Pogačar, trying to win yellow is the main goal for the team. Dani Martinez had a double crash last Sunday, I’m not sure he’s ready to spend a full day in the break. The rest of the panel reckon it’ll be a GC day. I have no idea why Ian has picked Quintana, the race finishes with a descent and a flat finish, this isn’t his style. Ben is going with Alaphilippe, which I find very strange. I’ll get my big wallet out again, if he wins I’ll buy everyone a drink. The best pick from the pen pushers is Adam Yates. He’s in great form and loves stages like this, well done Miles.
What do I think? Well, the breakaway would normally have a good chance in a stage like this, but when I looked a little closer, I started to have doubts. The stage begins on a bog-standard two-lane road, which is around 6 metres wide. This is very easy for a couple of teams to block once a controllable break has taken a few seconds. The flat start is also bad news for climbers looking to join the move. I think we’ll see a GC day. If that scenario turns out to be true, it has to be a win for Primož Roglič.