PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 12 - Hilly day promises more breakaway spectacle and traps for GC favourites

Preview. The final day of the Tour de France in the Massif Central will be stage 12, where the riders find difficult hilly terrain, plenty small climbs and another explosive start where the race threatens to break apart once more.

Stage 12 of the Tour de France is another day for the breakaway specialists. Climbers, puncheurs, time-trialists and classics specialists will come together on this day to pursuit the win on a day that is very difficult to predict. Whilst the rolling start will be quite complicated, the treble of ascents towards the finale in Belleville-en-Beaujolais will make it quite selective.

Estimated start and finish times for Tour de France stage 12: 13:05-17:20CET

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 12 - Hilly day promises more breakaway spectacle and traps for GC favourites
Stage 12: Roanne - Belleville-en-Beaujolais, 169.3 kilometers

The first 63 kilometers have six climbs, none too hard, but definitely hard enough to see a group get away. There are two blocks of climbs here, it will certainly be an explosive start to the day and very open, many types of riders can make it through. A descent and flat section follows before the combo of climbs where the stage should be decided.

The first of the climbs is the Col de la Casse Froide which is 5.2 kilometers at 6% and summits with 59 kilometers to go. Then follows the Col de la Croix Montmain which is 5.5 kilometers at 6.2% which ends with 44 kilometers to go, and then finally the Col de la Croix Rosier which is the toughest of the three, 5.4 kilometers at 7.7% which ends with 28.5 kilometers to go.

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 12 - Hilly day promises more breakaway spectacle and traps for GC favourites

All three climbs are not overly hard. They can see decisive attacks, and although the kilometers that follow include a lot of descent, going away alone does not guarantee a win. Attacks can happen early on, but there is also the option that some riders will wait for the last of the climbs to really go all-out.

The descent is slightly technical, there is then a small hilltop which ends with 14.5 kilometers to go, but then the last kilometers of the stage are more straightforward and the riders will have a trip through Belleville-en-Beaujolais, where they will find a flat sprint but a small finishing straight.

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 12 - Hilly day promises more breakaway spectacle and traps for GC favourites

The Weather

PREVIEW | Tour de France 2023 stage 12 - Hilly day promises more breakaway spectacle and traps for GC favourites
Map Tour de France 2023 stage 12

Temperatures up to 26 degrees (certainly a little higher on the road but not as much as stage 10) and a small northern breeze. Can't say the wind will have much of an effect on the day, but the heat will hamper those who can't deal with it when it comes to the fight for the stage win.

The Favourites

This is another certain breakaway day. Stage 10 proved incredibly difficult, but even though Jumbo-Visma tried keeping everything under control and had occasional assistance from Alpecin-Deceuninck and Team Jayco AlUla to try and bring the breakaway back, the efforts proved impossible and I doubt they'd have the men to close it. Here the start is very similar but the finale hard, Jumbo will not burn their team to try and get Wout van Aert a victory, but it's certain that he'll have the freedom to join the breakaway, and that's exactly what he has to do - with good chances if he does not suffer with the heat.

The favourites end up being quite much the same as in that day. Riders such as Krists Neilands, Georg Zimmermann and Ben O'Connor already proved to be capable of winning there. Other climbers got in the mix, Esteban Chaves could do well if he shows the same legs but times his attacks better. Add Mattias Skjelmose, Michal Kwiatkowski, Warren Barguil and Julian Alaphilippe to the mix and you're certain to have all of them trying to go again for the win they seek from this race.

If the stage ends up being decided in the climbs, which was not the case yesterday, but is quite possible if the start is as hard, you will have to consider the likes of Giulio Ciccone, Felix Gall, Ruben Guerreiro and Tobias Johannessen. The KOM fight could also kick off as there is a decent amount of points to deliver, expect more contenders such as Neilson Powless, Pierre Latour and Daniel Martínez to be in the mix.

Matteo Jorgenson showed in Puy de Dôme to be ready to win a stage, but spent too much too early. Here would be an ideal day for him. Puncheurs who can climb well these medium-length climbs could end up being huge contenders for the day, with Valentin Madouas certainly a card to play too. Rui Costa can count on experience and Alex Aranburu on his descending skills, as two outsiders who have so far been quite hidden throughout the Tour.

Last but not least we can have the scenario where the start is not as furious and rouleurs have better chances of making it into the front. By anticipation, or being the right group, they could make it through the climbs and still be within a shot of victory. Think Stefan Küng, EF duo Alberto Bettiol and Magnus Cort Nielsen, Bahrain duo Matej Mohoric and Fred Wright, Soren Kragh Andersen and who knows... Mathieu van der Poel.

Prediction Tour de France 2023 stage 12:

*** Wout van Aert, Valentin Madouas, Krists Neilands
** Georg Zimmermann, Giulio Ciccone, Matteo Jorgenson
* Ben O'Connor, Julian Alaphilippe, Felix Gall, Ruben Guerreiro, Tobias Johannessen, Daniel Martínez, Matej Mohoric, Alberto Bettiol, Fred Wright

Pick: Valentin Madouas

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