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Tour de France - Cycling: Stage 11 preview

Wednesday marks the first day that the 2022 Tour de France truly enters the Alps and race leader Tadej Pogacar is sure to come under pressure.

The Slovenian has looked largely bulletproof in his quest for a third straight Tour win and after questions regarding Team UAE Emirates' ability to support him, they clearly decided they were happy to lose yellow if needed on Tuesday.

Magnus Cort took the victory and Pogacar couldn't resist a late dash to the line to try and improve his 39-second lead over Jonas Vingegaard, but the Dane held his wheel.

There was a shake-up, though, with Bora-Hansgrohe's Lennard Kamna now second on GC after getting in the breakaway, with Jumbo-Visma's Vingegaard third.

On to Wednesday and with two hors catégorie climbs, there will be chances to attack for the favourites and there is sure to be drama.

There is another dilemma to discuss. Thursday is Bastille Day and with the peloton riding to Alpe d'Huez, some French riders may hold something back to preserve energy for the big one.

The 2022 Tour de France at bet365

WhatTour de France, Stage 11
WhereAlbertville to Col du Granon
When11:15 UK Time, Wednesday 13th July
How to watchLive on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ & GCN+

Stage 11 route details

Race director Christian Prudhomme has admitted that he sees Stage 11 as one of the days on which he expects the Tour to be lost, with the hairpins of the Lacets de Montvernier providing some early sting before the road truly turns upwards.

The category one Col du Telegraphe is the first of a trio of monster climbs, as the peloton then attacks the Col du Galibier before finishing atop the Col du Granon.

This is just the second time the Col du Granon has been used in the Tour, with Spaniard Eduardo Chozas the first man over the top in 1986.

Both the Galibier and the Granon are classified as hors catégorie. This is translated as 'beyond categorisation' and was originally used to categorise climbs the organisers didn't think could be passed by bike, with some even insurmountable on four wheels.

The profile of the route means a big group is likely to go away early before being whittled down. However, with a relatively flat start, they may not all be climbers and the favourites could sweep through to battle it out for the stage victory.

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Three to follow

Tadej Pogacar

It is impossible to ignore the reigning champion on a stage like this. Pogacar won twice in the Pyrenees in 2021 and has already triumphed twice at this Tour, including at La Planche des Belles Filles.

It's incredible to see someone who is just 23 look so strong, but what has been just as impressive in 2022 has been his nous for getting in the right move, notably tacking onto Jasper Stuyven over the cobbles on stage five.

While UAE Emirates may not be as collectively strong as some of the other teams, his main lieutenant, Rafal Majka - a two-time winner of the polka-dot jersey - looks to be in fantastic form and should be able to guide him into the final kilometres.

From there, Pogacar will be left to battle it out for himself, but as we've seen so often, he is a firm believer in attack being his best form of defence.

Nairo Quintana

The Colombian climber is having a stealthily impressive Tour and is part of a two-pronged assault from Arkea-Samsic. While team-mate Warren Barguil is happy to try and get in the breakaway, perhaps in pursuit of the mountains jersey, Quintana has been diligent in marking the big men.

Now 32, it is six years since he was last on the podium at the Tour, but that could prove to be an advantage if he breaks away as he may not garner the respect he once did.

Similarly, his long-held issues against the clock will give him extra freedom as any rivals will feel they can take time back off him later in the race.

Quintana's form has been good this year and the 'Condor of the Andes' will see Wednesday as a chance to claim a third career stage win.

Michael Woods

A value effort this one and a pick dependent on how well he has recovered after being involved in a few scrapes over the first week.

Woods was a contender for the mountains prize throughout last year's Tour, even wearing the jersey on stage 14 and has enjoyed another quietly efficient season.

The Canadian has twice won mountain stages at the Vuelta a Espana and unlike last year when he had a go at a GC push, the 35-year-old has a licence to roam, especially with Simon Clarke already securing a win for Israel-Premier Tech last Wednesday.

A rider who has battled adversity throughout his career, a win on one of the toughest days of the Tour would be fitting.

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