There is not so much as a kilometre of flat packed into the 177km that comprise the stage.

Tour de France 2014: Day of gruelling Alpine climbs is perfect stage to attack leader

On the final climb to Risoul, those still retaining the energy to create sparks should flicker away from the rest, shaping the race for the yellow jersey

Andrew Talansky grimaces as he completes stage 11. He was later forced to withdraw from the tour

Tour de France: Andrew Talansky's Stage 11 and five other tortuous rides that defied the pain barrier

By the laws of good sense, by the simple rules of humanity, Andrew Talansky should have abandoned the 2014 Tour de France midway through Stage 11.

Sir Bradley Wiggins will return to track racing at the Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games 2014: Sir Bradley Wiggins is right back on track

Tour de France winner, Olympic gold medallist and knight of the realm, Sir Bradley is a star to his England team-mates preparing for the Commonwealth Games

Vincenzo Nibali celebrates stage 13 victory of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali stamps his authority on the yellow jersey as he powers away from Richie Porte to stretch lead with stage 13 victory

Nibali faced his most testing climb so far but flourished as he pulled away from the rest of the field to win his third stage of this year's Tour

The Transport Select Committee demanded a five-fold increase in cycling infrastructure spending to cut casualties

Transport Committee urges Government to make it easier for councils to bring in lower speed limits to make roads safer - and boost cycling spending

The report urges the Government to reach a cycling budget of £10 per head of population by 2020

Norway's Alexander Kristoff (C) celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 185.5 km twelfth stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 17, 2014

Tour de France 2014: Alexander Kristoff pips Peter Sagan on the line to win Stage 12 as Vincenzo Nibali holds on to yellow jersey

Kristoff took advantage of a crash 3km from home that took out among other Andrei Greipel to power to stage victory

Andrew Talansky of the United States and Garmin-Sharp crashes in the sprint to the finish line in stage seven of the 2014 Le Tour de France

Tour de France 2014: Andrew Talansky the latest to abandon Tour after back and hip injuries force the Criterium du Dauphine winner out of the running

Talansky suffered a series of crashes in the first 10 stages that has finally got the better of the Garmin-Sharp rider


Tour de France 2014: Veteran Briton Brian Robinson suffers suspected broken collar bone after being knocked off his bike

Robinson became the first UK competitor to complete the Tour in 1955 and won his first stage three years later

Brian Robinson is being treated for a suspected broken collar bone, cuts and bruises

First Briton to win a stage on Tour de France injured in traffic accident while cycling

83-year-old Brian Robinson suffered a suspected broken collar bone, cuts and bruises

Peter Sagan will need strong support from his Cannondale team if he is to lead a breakaway

Tour de France 2014: Peter Sagan could seize chance on sharp descent

On Thursday the Tour heads from Bourg-en-Bresse, France’s world-renowned capital of duck farming, through 185.5 hilly kilometres (115.2 miles) to Saint-Étienne, the centre of the country’s bicycle-manufacturing industry.

France's Tony Gallopin celebrates as he crosses the finish line
Geraint Thomas has crashed in the last three stages but claims that is fairly normal

Tour de France 2014: Sky’s Geraint Thomas dismisses talk of treacherous Tour

Rider claims crashes are just more high-profile and backs ‘aggressive’ Porte to keep challenging race leader Nibali

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot in action on stage 10 of the Tour

Tour de France 2014: After 29 years of hurt, might a Frenchman finally win?

With no home winner of the Tour de France since 1985, there are now four in contention for this unpredictable 2014 edition

Alberto Contador suffers a crash on stage 10 of the 2014 Tour de France

Tour de France 2014: Five contenders remaining after exits of Alberto Contador and Chris Froome

Two of the favourites are already out after stage 10, so who are the contenders to be in yellow in Paris?

Angel Di Maria and Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford yesterday
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'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

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‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
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She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
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Get well soon, Joan Rivers

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Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
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