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Poll: You Decide. The 2011 TdF Queen Stage is .... ?

We're spoiled for choice of great mountain stages in the 2011 Tour de France.  

But - just for fun - which stage do you believe is likely to be the toughest, most interesting, most decisive - or however you want to define Queen Stage.

Below the fold, I have given a very brief sentence or two on why I think each of the four mountain top finish stages may or may not deserve to be labeled the Queen Stage.  

But more interestingly what do you think - and why?4966794437_cd1ee9de53_medium

Polka Dot fans see the Peloton approaching

The Candidate stages:

(See the TdF Mountains Preview for details on each climb)

Stage 12

    Profil_medium

Why it's the Queen stage:  Three huge climbs, one after the other.  Not easy. 

Why it's not the Queen stage:   Yes, this is tough (but there will be tougher).  And stage 12 is just too early in the race.

Stage 14

Profil__1__medium

Why it's the Queen stage:   This stage has six (!) tough climbs.  Riders will be exhausted when they reach Plateau de Beille.  And the winner at Plateau de Beille always wins the Tour de France:  Pantani in 1998, Armstrong in 2002 & 2004, and Contador in 2007

Why it's not the Queen stage:   Sure this is an impressive stage.  But there is only one HC climb.  And there is much less oxygen on later, higher Alps stages.  

Stage 18

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Why it's the Queen stage:  This stage has three gigantic HC climbs -  all at oxygen thin altitudes (gasp).  And Galibier will be the highest finish in Tour history. 

Why it's not the Queen stage:   This is the easier side of Galibier.   The other stages all have tougher final climbs.

Stage 19

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Why it's the Queen stage:  Alpe d'Huez will be the last categorized climb of the entire race.  It's will be now or never. If you define Télégraphe/Galibier as one climb, then it's the toughest in the race. 

Why it's not the Queen stage:  It's a short stage, and easier than the other three Queen candidates.  The race may effectively be over by now. 

 

A Final Word

I'll keep quiet about my choice until a few votes are in.  Feel free to add better reasons than mine in the comments to support your choice.

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All stage profiles from the official Tour de France web site

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