Course Preview

Stage 7: Bad Zurzach - Vallorbe/Juraparc
Date: Friday, 19 June
Distance: 204.1 km
Terrain: Pan flat and then a wall!

GC Importance:  Tough finish that comes out of the blue will blow the field apart. The GC contenders will be attacking each other like there is no tomorrow. Small but important gaps at the end. 

Details:  At 204km stage 7 of this years TdS is the longest of the race. After starting in Bad Zurzach the course follows a long and generally flat straight run from the North to the West of Switzerland through the major cities of Brugg (after 10km), Aarau (30km), Olten (44km) and Solothurn(78km). 

The flat parcours may well attract a number of breakaways, particularly as this stage may not be one for the sprinters owing to the steep uphill finish.

The feed is reached at 111km in the town of Grenchen. From these the riders will continue on to the main cities of Biel (100km) and Neuchâtel (130km) along the Neuenburgersee. If a break is up road expect the bunch to begin to start to wind things up. After another flat 40km the riders will reach the first intermediate sprint at Mathod, a point which also marks the beginning of the tricky final part of the day: the climb through Vallorbe to the “Juraparc”.

Out of the town of Orbe (179km) the road begins to gradually climb and over the next 16km the road rises 300m. These gradients themselves are not dramatic and will not present a major challenge for most riders. Nevertheless, expect fireworks once the road starts to rise. The race is likely to arrive at the foot of the hill in a big group, but a number of riders will be waiting to jump. At the end of the first 16k of climbing the riders will be in the town of Vallorbe, and 3rd category mountain points will be on offer at the “mini-summit”. A few hundred meters later the riders will go through the final intermediate sprint.

If a group hasn’t broken clear by now, the final 5km at an average gradient of 6% are likely to help. Over the last 5km the Juraparc wildlife sanctuary the riders will gain another 300m of altitude. Likely to see a compact group almost together at the end most probably with a lone victory by a powerful climber who manages to jump in the dying moments. This could be a Kirchen moment. — Edward Madden Gavia (updates to this preview will be made during the race and especially the day before the stage with current analysis)<-->