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


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


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


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

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.


All stage profiles from the official Tour de France web site