Tour de France - Stage 11 guide: Cav eyes number 18
Mark Cavendish should have his usual lead-out train in full throttle again as he chases his 18th Tour de France victory in the 11th stage.
Stage 11 – Wed, 13 July – Blaye les Mines – Lavaur – 167.5km
Type: Flat finish, but rolling roads
Details: The final flat stage before the Pyrenees, stage 11 should be a rather routine ride culminating in a bunch sprint. This area in sunny south France boasts some wonderful scenery and the peloton passes through a number of pretty medieval villages, so it will be a good chance for some riders to relax and do a spot of sightseeing. There are two lower category climbs but the finish in Lavaur is pancake flat.
Watch out for: The heat – this is one of the sunniest areas in France.
Prediction: While a bunch sprint seems the best bet, a breakaway cannot be ruled out – but it will depend on the composition of the GC at this early stage in the race. With the mountains looming some teams will have other fish to fry than chasing down breakaways – especially if any group further up the road contains riders from winless teams bent on securing a victory.
History: The only previous time the Tour has visited Lavaur came in 2001 when Belgian Rik Verbrugghe won from a breakaway in a stage starting in Pau.