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2011 Tour De France, Stage 15 Preview: Flat Country Before Resting And The Alps

The 2011 Tour de France comes out of the Pyrenees Mountains on Sunday for a fairly flat stage 15. This is the last chance for the sprinters to secure a stage win before the ride down the Champs- Élysées. The peloton will make its way 192.5 kilometers from Limoux to Montpelier before a rest day and then the Alps. It will be interesting to see how teammates handle the stretch before the Alps. The race is generally won or lost in the Alps so strategy on Sunday could prove important.

At this point Team Radioshack has more or less lost out on any chance of making an impact on the final standings, even with the monstrous Alps still to come. Santa Rosa-based BMC racing will have to figure out a way to keep Cadel Evans at the front of the pack without wearing down before the Alps. As the Tour folks described it, the heat will be a major factor. Even without significant climbs, heat can wear down a cyclist just as badly.

Stage fifteen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.