2012 Tour de France, Stage 7: Route, TV Schedule, Live Updates And More

The Tour de France is grueling enough as it is, but Saturday marks what may be the toughest portion of the competition. With Stage 7, the Tour begins its week-long stretch of mountain stages, with the cyclists climbing from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges.

The stage features three separate climbs. The first two are Category 3 climbs, with the first beginning at Col de Grosse Pierre (112 km into the race) and the second kicking off at Col du Mont de Fourche (150.5 km). Both climbs are a mere 3.1 kilometers long but are on a 6.4 percent gradient. The race's final climb is to the summit at La Planche des Belles Filles. It's one of the three summit finishes during the tour, and begins with a rise up a 13 percent gradient. That eventually dips to an 11 percent gradient in the middle of the final hike before closing with a 14 percent gradient.

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara still holds the yellow jacket, but mountain stages in the Tour de France have a funny way of shaking up the leaderboard.

Start time: 7:10 a.m. CT

Expected finish time: 10:13 a.m. CT

TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network (coverage begins at 7 a.m. CT)

Stay up to date with all the latest Tour de France news by staying tuned to this StoryStream or by visiting SB Nation's Podium Cafe.

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