The approach to the Alps, that will be the scene of a final week of intense action, can provide an opportunity for all-rounders to deploy their talents. The day's climbs will probably see the best climbers clinging together. However, one will need a fast pace to triumph in Gap after a long final straight.
The towns / A sporting view
Following a stage finish at the Ventoux in 2002, Vaison-la-Romaine hosted the departure of a stage that headed in the direction of les Deux-Alpes and was won by Santiago Botero. Axel Merckx finished 3rd, two years after winning a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné that started in Vaison and finished in Grenoble. His father, Eddy Merckx also notched up one of his victories in a stage which left Vaison-la-Romaine during the 1977 Paris-Nice.
Mountain passes & hillsNo mountain passes and hills referenced in this stage
Lying at the foot of the mountains, this town is the perfect gateway to the Alps. Long distance attackers have often triumphed here; riders such as Jean-François Bernard, in 1986, or Pierrick Fédrigo, twenty years later. During the last finish in 2011, audacity was once again rewarded: world champion Thor Hushovd, part of a breakaway, finished first in front of his young fellow-countryman Edvald Boasson Hagen, achieving the tenth stage win of his Tour career.
Jersey wearers after the stage 20
Receive exclusive news about the Tour de France