Possibly the hardest stage yet will take place at the Tour de France on Saturday. The seventh stage served as a reminder that harsh climbs were coming up and Saturday's eighth stage hammers the point home. There weren't any "mountains" proper on Friday, but Saturday sees the introduction of Port de Pailhères.
As noted at Podium Cafe, Port de Pailhères is the highest pass of the race, and they believe it's the third-hardest climb of the race. It's definitely a rough introduction to the climbs, and the fact that another climb comes immediately after Ax 3 Domaines.
Ax 3 Domaines has an average gradient of 8.2 percent, but the climb itself is just shy of 8 kilometers long. That climb is just about the end of the race, with 9.3 kilometers from start to finish. The route itself runs 195 kilometers overall. We've got a map of the route below:
The stage is set to get started at 5:35 a.m. ET, with an approximate finish at 11 a.m., according to Steephill.tv. NBC will carry television coverage of the stage in the U.S., with its coverage beginning at 8 a.m. If you want to watch online, your best option is NBC's Tour de France Live package, though you'll have to throw down some money.