Stage 13 of the 2013 Tour de France will once again favor sprinters, starting flat before steadily climbing until the midpoint, and flattening out again. The 173 kilometer trek from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond does feature a potential curveball, however: A viciously steep uncategorized climb just 10 km from the finish that could serve as jumping point for any would-be breakaway winners.
Once again, Christopher Froome will ride in yellow as the Tour's general classification leader and Peter Sagan will ride in green as the man atop the points standings. Keen observers will want to train their eyes on Mark Cavendish. The British rider has had a rough week, from crashing into Tom Veelers in Stage 10, to getting urine thrown on him in Stage 11, to getting sniped at the finish of Stage 12 by Marcel Kittel.
SB Nation's cycling blog, Podium Cafe, writes that Cavendish vs. Kittel has become an "unexpected rivalry." Cavendish has earned a reputation as perhaps the world's fastest man on two wheels, but Kittel has challenged that assertion by winning three stages to Cavendish's one on this year's Tour. Via Podium Cafe:
Cav has outlasted and outkicked everyone since about 2007. Is Kittel about to change all that? Let's not get ahead of ourselves on calling him the new king, but the suggestion of a change is certainly in the air.
Live television coverage will once again begin at 8 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Those stuck to their computer or a smart phone can try NBCSN's digital service, but there is a fee.
Stage 12 map and profile:
Courtesy: Podium Cafe