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Tour de France 2015, Stage 8: Route, TV schedule and more

Stage 8 of the Tour de France won't be the most important stage, but it is sure to be one of the weirdest as it wanders through Brittany.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Continuing the theory that the Tour de France just hit "reset" after an insane first week, Stage 8 closely resembles the Stage 3 trip through Holland that should have built up to a thrilling summit finish atop the Mur de Huy and instead became a discombobulated mess when two big crashes occurred in quick succession. Stage 8 can atone for that, with a similar ride through a weird, cycling-crazy region and finish up the Mur de Bretagne, which once again invites potential winners with a wide range of skill sets.

Brittany is a thoroughly odd part of France. It has a long, distinct history, and none of it is all that "French." Remnants of prehistory are littered everywhere, with the mysterious carnac stones being one prominent example. Gallic tribes inhabited the area at one point, and those were Romanized by the, uh, Romans (except for one plucky village!) Then the Britons came, made the area their namesake, A LOT more things happened, the people become a mishmash of influences spanning centuries ... and at some point someone picked up a bicycle.

Bretons are some of the rowdiest fans along any Tour de France stage. You'll know them by the sound, by their ubiquitous flag and by their proudly appropriated nickname Les Ch'tis [Ch'ti actually refers to someone from Northern France], which is pronounced like a sneeze. Besides the major climbs on the mountain stages, Saturday's stage should provide some of the best people-watching of the Tour.

The racing itself will be pretty great too, if not particularly consequential. The climbers and general classification favorites will be more involved than they have been the last two stages, but there simply isn't enough real estate to do major damage to the standings without something nasty and unexpected taking place.

The main attraction is the final two kilometers, when the peloton hits the Mur. Climbers and classics specialists will make their moves then, as well as some of the more versatile points contenders (Peter Sagan, basically). Joaquim Rodriguez won Stage 3, and he could take Stage 8 as well, along with the likes of Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and a host of others.

Froome has a cushion-y grasp on the yellow jersey, but the right rider or an inspired breakaway could take it from him. Sagan might be that man, but he's much more likely to settle for the green jersey off Andre Greipel's back. Daniel Teklehaimanot will no doubt be gunning for the midway climb to keep the polka dot jersey as the King of the Mountains.

It certainly feels like a new Tour, with real, racing-inspired storylines taking the place of the headlines about chaos, crashes and crappy weather. If you haven't yet started watching 2015's edition of the Tour, Stage 8 is a great point to start.

NBC is hosting coverage of the stage. Coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET , though racing will have been underway since 6:40 a.m. The NBC Sports Live Extra app will be the go-to option for those looking to stream the stage on their mobile devices. Those on their laptops will have to pay for NBC's web package for the Tour de France.

Stage route




Coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET. on NBC

Announcers: Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen

Mobile: NBC Sports Live Extra app with an appropriate cable subscription

Computer: NBC's Tour de France web package is available for a fee