Stage eight of the 2022 Tour de France might have been one for the sprinters had it not been for a draggy ascent to the finish line in the Swiss city of Lausanne which will suit a puncheur much better than the power riders, who might well feel a little short-changed by the parcours this year.
An early intermediate sprint could bring the fast men to the fore chasing green jersey points, but a breakaway is likely to have scampered up the road by then rendering the sprint relatively meaningless. Then come three categorised climbs, the middle of which – the category three Cote des Rousses (6.7km at 5% average gradient) – offers a strategic opportunity for someone to attack and punish weary legs after a gruelling first week.
After crossing the border to Switzerland comes the category four Cote de Petra Felix (2.4km, 5.6%) before a long, steady descent towards Lausanne and the finishing climb, the category three Cote du Stade Olympique (4.8km, 4.6%) which passes the eponymous venue at the summit.
With Julian Alaphilippe absent through injury, Mathieu van der Poel feeling far from his best this week and Wout van Aert potentially restricted to team duties protecting leader Jonas Vingegaard, there is no standout candidate for victory. Van Aert could be given license to go for the stage, however, while the likes of Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews might just have the right blend of speed and power for a profile such as this one. Then again, if the breakaway is reeled in, who would bet against the yellow jersey of Tadej Pogacar surging to a third successive stage victory? He is certainly unlikely to let Ineos punchier riders like Tom Pidcock or Adam Yates go for glory, given their threat in the general classification.
Whatever happens, if the action comes anywhere close to matching that of the past three days, we are in for another compelling day’s racing at the Tour de France.
Stage 8 profile
Stage 8 start time
The stage is scheduled to begin at around 12.15pm BST with the expected arrival at 4:30pm BST.
How to watch on TV and online today
Tour de France coverage can be found this year on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ and GCN+ (Global Cycling Network).
Live racing each day will be shown on ITV4 before highlights typically at 7pm each day. ITV’s website lists timings here.
Eurosport and GCN+ will show every minute of every stage. More on Eurosport’s coverage here and the GCN+ coverage here.
It is also being shown on Eurosport’s Discovery+ streaming service, with broadcast info here.