2023 Tour de France Stage 8 Preview

Libourne > Limoges 201km

The Tour de France returns to Limoges for the first time since 2016. That day, Marcel Kittel won a grind of an uphill sprint, beating Bryan Coquard by a bawhair. This finish isn’t the same, but it’s also uphill, one for the strong sprinters. 


Another warm day with temperatures up at 32 degrees. There’s a 30% chance of rain in the final couple of hours.


The final 75km features lots of little kickers, including two cat 4 climbs which crest with 16km and 9.5km to go. It’s a lumpy finish, if a team decides to raise the pace, quite a few riders will be dropped from the peloton. In the final 10km I see five hills, including the rise to the finishing line. If the roads are wet, the bunch will be nervous.

The final kilometre averages 3.8%, which isn’t too hard, but they make a tight left-hand turn at the start, so pace will be knocked off and it will seem harder than the numbers suggest.


Who wants to make the final 50km hard? Jumbo-Visma and Intermarché are the obvious choices. Most sprinters would back themselves in a finish where the final kilometre is at 3.8%, that means teams with a climbing sprinter will want to make the rest of the stage as hard as possible. I expect to see both teams hit the final 20km hard, including both the categorised climbs. They might only be 1.5km at 4.6% and 1.5km at 4.7%, but a hard pace will hurt the legs of the pure sprinters. If the roads are wet, it will only add to the difficulty level.

The final kilometre is an interesting one, it looks very grippy to me. There will be a light cross/headwind for the sprint, but as the road is well protected by trees, I don’t think that will have a big impact.


Jasper Philipsen – he’s normally very good in an uphill sprint, there are a few whispers that van der Poel could get to sprint, but I think Philipsen is their best chance to take the win. He’s been looking brilliant in the opening week of this race; it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take another win in this stage.

Wout Van Aert – we’re now starting to see peak Van Aert, the way he improves during the Tour de France is amazing to see. He was strong in the break in stage 5, but he was brilliant in stage 6. He’s looking to take a stage win, and this day is one that suits him very well. The team have the riders to make the final 20km hard for everyone, and Laporte is capable of setting a pace most can’t live with in the final kilometre.

Mathieu van der Poel – will he be allowed to go for it? It’s a good finish for him, but also for Philipsen. We’ll have to see what the team decide.

Caleb Ewan – loves an uphill sprint, he’s won many stages like this throughout his career. He’ll like the look of the finish but needs his team to get him in a good spot for the final kilometre.

Mads Pedersen – yet another rider who’ll love this finish. Pedersen hasn’t been close in the flat sprints, but he should be challenging for the win in this stage. With Kirsch and Stuyven to help, he should be in the mix.

Bryan Coquard – he was so close to winning in 2016, he’ll hope that he can eventually take his first Tour win in this stage. This year, he won a similar uphill grind in the Tour Down Under, his first world tour success. Winning against those already mentioned will not be easy.

Biniam Girmay – we’ve hardly seen him in this race, but this stage is one he can win. The key is Mike Teunissen, he’s brilliant when the road rises. He’ll get Bini in a good spot, then we’ll see if he’s got the legs to win.

Alexander Kristoff – another who’s won plenty of uphill finishes. He should be in the mix for the top 5.

Prediction Time

I think the final 20km will be raced at a tremendous speed.

Embed from Getty Images

I’ll take a win for Wout Van Aert, he’s now getting close to his very best.