The Alpine trilogy finishes with a monumental stage that takes them over the iconic TDF climbs of the Col de la Madeleine, the Col de Croix de Fer and ends on the legendary Alpe d’Huez.
<p>We had a completely crazy stage Wednesday with two of our men giving us a good run for our money, Barguil and Herrada being in the main break of the day and leading on to the final climb. Unfortunately they just weren’t good enough against the might of Team Sky who took control in the final 5 kilometres. Geraint Thomas broke Mikel Nieve’s heart, passing him with 400 metres to go, to take the race lead overall too.</p><p>On to Stage 12 and the summit finish at Alpe d’Huez. Probably the most famous climb in cycling, the 21 hairpins and packed crowds of fanatical fans make it a stage that stirs the emotions amongst the riders. Last time up here in 2015, on the penultimate day, Thibaut Pinot escaped to take the stage victory, on a shorter stage than this one, but which also included the Croix de Fer.</p><p>The main story behind though was Nairo Quintana dancing away from Chris Froome in a last-gasp attempt to try to steal the Tour from Froome. He managed to put 1’20” in to Froome on the final climb, but it wasn’t enough and Froome sealed his second TDF victory.</p><p> </p><h2>The Route</h2><p>A 65km longer stage than the last time they came up here in 2015, that’s mainly down to the inclusion of the Col de La Madeleine and the Lacets de Montvernier. The latter part of the stage from Saint Jean de Maurienne is the same. They start in Bourg Saint Maurice, the first 28kms or so is downhill, then they start the monster climb of the Col de la Madeleine, a Haute Category climb of 25kms in length.</p><p>After that they take on the twisting 8.2% average ramp up the cliff face at the Lacets de Montvernier and straight on to the Col de la Croix de Fer, another massive climb of 29kms at 5.2%. Then it’s down the near-30km descent, along the flat for 10kms and then through Bourg D’Oisans and on to Alpe d’Huez. The climb is a HC climb also, 13.8kms long at an average of 8.1%, but the last 2.8kms are closer to 5% and the earlier parts hit 10% to 11.5%.</p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5b4f96b4aa35fe00adec3db0/original-tour-de-france-stage-12" /></p><h2>Analysis and Picks</h2><p>The break could have a small chance again Thursday. It’s going to be a very hard stage to control and it could be that an early break on the Madeleine build up a big lead that they add to on the descent and up the Lacets. It could be 7 or 8 minutes before they tackle the Croix de Fer. <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/" title="Sports Betting Odds">Sky don’t need to chase now, they just need to control it</a> with their two men at the head of the race.</p><p>But it will of course depend on what the peloton want to do. If they want to race up the Croix de Fer then the break might be doomed. If they decide to take it easy and save themselves for one big blast up Alpe d’Huez then the break should make it.</p><p>GC hopes probably revolve around Sky now, as they just look so much stronger than anyone else. Froome is probably the strong favourite for the stage even though he hasn’t lit up this climb in the past, he just looked like he was toying with them in Stage 11. And Geraint Thomas in yellow will be looking to stretch his lead away from Froome and the rest. If he attacks like he did today again, and the others look at Froome, <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/" title="Free Sports Picks">Geraint could be gone again</a>.</p><p>I thought a few days ago the challenge might come from Movistar in Stage 12, that they had the firepower to light this stage up, and we know how quick Quintana can ride up here when on form. He destroyed the rest of the GC guys in 2015 when he took off in pursuit of Pinot. He didn’t quite catch Pinot that day, but he was 1’20” faster than Froome.</p><p>Ok, that was the end of a hard Tour where Froome was exhausted, but leading, and Quintana had had a poor race and was salvaging some pride. But what happens now after Wednesday's performances? Valverde burned a lot of matches in his attack, Quintana couldn’t go with Froome and Thomas or Dan Martin, and Landa was well out of it too. They need to strike in Stage 12 or it’s definitely all over, but will they be able to?</p><p>This climb might suit Tom Dumoulin’s power, and he’ll be desperate to try to strike early here when he has such good legs. If he can get a gap he might just be able to time trial his way to the top – it will be interesting to see if the crowd around Dutch corner inspire him, or cause interference if he goes through ahead of the rest.</p><p>Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali, Primoz Roglic, and Steven Kruijswijk looked a little one-paced. They were not able to respond to the attacks by Thomas, Martin and Froome, just fought amongst themselves. Hard to see them turning it around after the beating they took Wednesday, but the word is that Roglic is planning an attack in a very precise spot Thursday and is going to give it a go.</p><p>Dan Martin looks about the only one able to serve it up to the Sky boys in terms of attack/response. He is sure to be involved in the finish, but will he be able to get away and stay away? Froome and Thomas might let him go as he’s still not really a danger and he was a good ally Wednesday.</p><p>Breakers? A few darts at Liliane Calmejane (French, had a good training day two days ago, took it easy today) and Daniel Martinez (is riding well, was 21st Wednesday and will have freedom now that Uran is out of the running).</p><p> </p><h2>Selections</h2><p>0.3pts win on Lillian Calmejane at +$20000<br />0.3pts win on Daniel Martinez at +$6600<br />1pt win on Chris Froome at +$200<br />1pt win on Dan Martin at +$1000</p>