Stage 18 - July 20: Lausanne - Fribourg-En-Brisgau, 246.5 km
Start time: 11:09
You gotta get back to Paris somehow on Le Tour De France and Thursday's Stage 18 is the answer. On the race schedule, it looks like a long 6 and a half hour slog across numerous cantons of Switzerland, then up into Germany for a finish in Jan Ullrich's adopted hometown Fribourg in Breisgau. The parcours contains two cat. 3 and two cat. 4 climbs, but after the final sprint in Sitzenkirch, Germany, the last 46km are mostly flat. Look for some obvious early breaks but Telekom may ride to keep it together for a sprint finish win by Erik Zabel.
Due to the length of the stage, a lot of people expect it to be "tempo" for the first half, with the usual wind up later on. However, this is Le Tour and anything can happen.
Weather: It's a beautiful day here in the beautiful village depart by Lac Leman in Lausanne. It might be the last good weather the riders see before Paris, as there is rain predicted for the weekend.
Other news from the village depart is that Lance Armstrong himself is coming to visit the Nike stand this morning. Lance is well known for not showing himself in the village but today he has made an exception. There are also a lot of UCI dignitaries and 'big cheeses' here, including Mr. IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Km 139.0 - Côte
de Oberer-Hauenstein - 7.5 km climb at 3.1% (Cat. 3)
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