Stage 7 - July 14: Strasbourg - Colmar, 162.5 km

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By Tim Maloney

Once again, TDF weather is expected to be cloudy and cool, with temps in the 60ís and some chance of rain, especially over the higher climbs in the Vosges Mountains. Much uncertainty tomorrow Le Tour at whether O'Grady will keep his Maillot Jaune, or if his teammates Voigt or Julich, currently 2nd or 3rd will take over.

Many observers expect ONCE and Kelme to attack on the short, intense stage. With two Cat 2 and two Cat 3 climbs over 100km, including the penultimate 18.4km climb of the Col du Calvaire (4%), followed by the 5.8km Collet du Ligne, the final 55km may see some big changes in the Classment General at Le Tour 2001.

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Start time: 1250 CEST
Estimated finish time: 1715 CEST

The hilliest stage of the Tour so far, although we have not yet hit the high mountains, this 162 kilometre journey from Strasbourg to Colmar also finishes near the German border. The category 2 Col du Calvaire (1137m) comes at 38 kilometres to go, and may prove decisive in determining the outcome of the stage. Another one for the GC riders to be wary of.

Strasbourg (1990 pop. 255,931) is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department in northeastern France and is considered the "intellectual and commercial capital of Alsace." It lies on the Ill river near its junction with the Rhine, and has industries ranging from nuclear research to beer to music. What more could you want?

Colmar is the capital of Haut-Rhin department in Alsace. It is connected by rail and canal to Strasbourg, Mulhouse, and Basel in Switzerland. It became a free city of the Holy Roman Empire in 1226, and Louis XIV made it the capital of Alsace in 1673. Notable is the 800 year old Unterlinden Museum, which contains the Isenheim altarpiece by Mathias Grünewald and numerous other 15th century masterpieces.

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