A QUITE epic stage awaits Dinnington’s Ben Swift and the rest of the Tour de France riders today.
In the last Pyrenean stage of the race before tomorrow’s transition into the Alps, the contenders for the yellow jersey will fight it out over six climbs and a summit finish.
For Swift it will be another hard day in the saddle as the Tour finishes its second week.
“There are a lot of tired riders out there,” the 23-year-old Swift told The Star. “It’s definitely going to be tough with six category climbs.”
Swift, in his first Tour de France, is still catching his breath after a quick fire stage 13 yesterday. The 152.5km from Pau to Lourdes may have been a relatively short distance over the Col d’Aubisque but it was ridden at a frantic pace.
Swift said: “It was the perfect stage to get in a breakaway so everyone was scared of missing out. The average speed today must have been really high.
“The climb wasn’t too bad today.”
The victory went to Thor Hushovd who produced a performance worthy of his world champion status. He hunted down long-time leader Jeremy Roy with 2.2km to go before celebrating a stunning success.
France’s Thomas Voeckler retained the race leader’s yellow jersey, despite finishing seven minutes 37 seconds behind Hushovd.
Swift says he’s looking forward to tomorrow’s 192.5km from Limoux to Montpellier, which will be the last sprint stage before Paris.
“I definitely want to go for it. We’ll have a team meeting and decide what we’re going to do,” he said.
Stage 14: Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille (168.5km). The last of the Pyrenean stages features six major climbs and a summit finish. Every rider who has previously won at Plateau de Beille has gone on to the win the Tour.