VIDEO: Tour de France stage 13 preview
AFP/The Local · 12 Jul 2013, 08:29
Published: 12 Jul 2013 08:29 GMT+02:00
- Tour de France stage 12: Kittel beats Cavendish (11 Jul 13)
- Strike closes Mont Saint Michel as Tour rides in (10 Jul 13)
- Tour de France: Sky ready to alter strategy (08 Jul 13)
Stage 13 of the Tour de France which sees the peloton cover the 173km from Tours to Saint-Armand-Montrond looks set to be another battle between the sprint specialists.
Can Mark Cavendish make up for the disappointment of being pipped on the line on Thursday by Germany's Marcel Kittel, the rider everyone is talking about?
The 173-kilometre stage from Tours on the banks of the Loire River to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France takes a more undulating route than Wednesday's stage 12 but it will nevertheless be a final chance for the sprinters to impress before the race heads into the Alps.
Breaking up the day will be the short, fourth-category climb of the Cote de Crotz at the 77.5km mark but otherwise it could be a crucial stage in the race for the green jersey.
That means there could be more drama involving the likes of Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel, with the latter going for his fourth stage win on this year's Tour -- something his compatriot Erik Zabel never managed, even when he was winning the green jersey six years in a row.
Meanwhile Chris Froome's hopes of becoming only the second Briton to win the Tour de France suffered a potential setback when Team Sky were reduced to seven riders on a crash marred 12th stage on Thursday.
Having suffered a bruised elbow in a first spill, the 26-year-old Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen's second meeting with the tarmac ended his race and has piled unwanted pressure on Sky ahead of four crucial stages in the Alps beginning Sunday.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford admitted: "It's a real shame for Edvald and a setback for the team that he's been forced to abandon the race.
"It's never nice to lose a rider of Edvald's ability, but ultimately we're still confident that with the riders we've got left we can pull together and see the race through."
Here's a video preview of the stage thanks to Global Cycling Network.