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Tour Stage 10 Preview: Limoges - Issoudun

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Stage 10 :: Tuesday July 14, 2009
194.5km :: Limoges - Issoudun

I imagine I'm the only one that looks at the finish line of stage 10 and misreads it perpetually as "Isildur". Yeah, thought so. This is the Tour de France though, and it will be Bastille Day, hence there may be cause to bestow the titles "Issoudun's Heir" and "Issoudun's Bain" before the day is out.

Having left the majority of the non-English speaking members behind within one paragraph and the non-Geek speaking contingent as well, I suppose I should just stick to the cycling. This stage isn't exactly flat, but to call it a "rolling, hilly" stage would be an insult to rolling and hilly stages. I'm guessing that Cat.4 Mountain status was conferred based on the amount of cash the City Father's ponied up to the organizing committee. I couldn't even find the first "mountain" of this stage using a terrain map.

Gavia must have something to say to make this stage more interesting than it appears...

This stage begins in Limoges near the center of the Hexagon and runs almost directly North to Issoudun. Along the way, the riders will climb three categorized climbs. Don't get too excited: All three climbs receive a category 4 rating. Four stands for easy. This stage should end in bunch sprint and the final kilometers are flat. The decision by the Tour organizers to ban radio contacts between the team cars and the riders may add a hint of drama to this stage, but it should not significantly alter the outcome.

Famed for the production of porcelain, Limoges has hosted the Tour de France on 13 occasions. The city holds the nickname of la ville rouge, the Red City, because of its leftist political tradition. France’s main trades union, the Confédération générale du travail, originated in Limoges in the late 19th century. The stage finishes in Issoudun, and this year marks the first visit of the Tour to this town in central France.

The most recent visit of the Tour de France to Limoges came in 2004, when it served as the start city for a stage ending in Saint-Flour. Like this year’s edition, that 2004 stage took place on Bastille Day. Richard Virenque won the stage in Saint-Flour after a lengthy breakaway, in which he dropped his companion Axel Merkcx and soloed to victory. Merckx later claimed the two had a deal to ride together to the finish. Rule #1: Never make a deal with a French rider on Bastille Day. Thomas Voeckler wore the Yellow Jersey as race leader, as a result of a lengthy breakaway during the first week of racing. Lance Armstrong won the overall in Paris.

Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 10 Preview at Steephill.tv

There really isn't much to say about today's stage by me.  The only way this doesn't end in a bunch sprint is because some Frenchman grew an afterburner. (PS: Go Thor)

First things first, proof that a stage profile produced by ASO is almost totally worthless.  That yellow EKG down there makes you think they're climbing the Rockies.

 

The parcours of the stage.  Provide commentary, speculation and general rest day pent up excitement below.  I'm gonna shut up now.