Stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France starts with a battle for the polka dot jersey and ends with a battle for the green. In the middle there's a whole lot of ... not much. After Saturday and Sunday's stages set in motion the tussle over the yellow jersey, the Tour will pull back the action to transition from the Pyrenees to Mont Ventoux.
The 197-kilometer ride will begin at approximately 6:35 a.m. ET in Andorra at Escaldes-Engordany and finish in France at Revel, on the edge of the Tarn. NBCSN will begin its broadcast at 7:30 a.m., which means that TV viewers will miss the Category 1 climb over Port d'Envalira and the highest point on this year's Tour. [Author's note: :\] To catch the climb requires a subscription to NBC Sports Gold, and even then subscriber will only be able to see it on replay. The stream picks up racing live at 8:10 a.m.
Port d'Envalira isn't particular steep, but it's long -- at 22 kilometers, it's the longest climb on this year's Tour. At an average gradient of 5.5 percent, it climbs to a height of 2,408 meters. Its summit will be of particular interest to Thibaut Pinot, Rafal Majka and Thomas de Gendt, who spent Stage 9 taking King of the Mountains points from each other. The stage ended with Pinot in polka dots, just three points ahead of Majka.
A long climb means a long descent, which leads right into some roll-y but mostly flat terrain. It ought to be a sprinters' finish, except for the devious Category 3 at the 190-kilometer mark. The climb is less than two kilometers, but its gradient hits 16 percent in stretches, which may be just enough to rule out the pure sprinters like Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.
And maybe Mark Cavendish too, but he's an impossible man to count out after winning three stages and taking the green jersey from Peter Sagan (for now). Sagan should enter the stage believing he can take back the points lead, and behind him Bryan Coquard, in fourth place on the points classification, has a good chance to play spoiler.
All the while, the general classification contenders will be hoping only to get out of the stage unscathed. Catch the beginning, catch the end, and take a nice long nap in the middle.
Tour de France coverage for Stage 10 on Tuesday
Start time: 6:35 a.m. ET (approx.)
Route: 197 kilometers from Escaldes-Engordany (Andorra) to Revel (France)
TV: NBCSN, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Streaming: NBC Sports Gold (subscription required), beginning at 8:10 a.m.