|Joaquim Rodriguez is|
Col de la Croix de Ferre from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the beautiful Savoy region, featuring a grinding 29.5km with a 5.5% average gradient - and a few 9.5% sections thrown in just in case the riders aren't suffering sufficiently. This is followed by a descent of some 14km, which should offer some high speed action as riders seek to let gravity take the strain and give their burning legs a break, before they face another steep climb to reach the finish 1703m above sea level at La Toussuire with the final 14.4km averaging 5.9%. A strong climber - such as Joaquim Rodríguez, currently in 6th place overall 3'01" behind the lead but in second place among the climbers and leading on overall points - could theoretically break Wiggo's hold. Unlike the Tour, in which the overall winner is often revealed several stages from the end, nothing is yet concrete in this year's Dauphiné and that'll make for some great racing today.
Rodriguez may be in 6th overall, but he'll doubtless be glad - the 32-year-old Katusha rider made the decision to take part at the last moment following his 5th place success in the Giro d'Italia. He'll be worth watching next month in France.
The fun starts at 13.25 CEST (12.25 BST) - as ever, it won't be on British TV but you can follow the action live at the Dauphine website or you can watch it live in French on sport.francetv. Links to live video in other languages (none of them English, unfortunately) and delayed video (including English) available from steephill.tv.