The 2018 Tour de France will wind its way through the mountain passages of Brittany as Stage 6 takes the spotlight on Thursday, when Greg van Avermaet will be hoping to keep hold of the yellow jersey.
The Belgian finished seventh behind Stage 5 victor Peter Sagan on Wednesday to stay two seconds out in front in the general classification, but a second successive mountain stage opens up the race considerably.
Mur-de-Bretagne is one of the more intimidating climbs at this stage of the competition, and for the first time in its Tour participation, riders will have to face it twice, with a time-bonus sprint after the first climb.
This adds an air of unfamiliarity to the mix heading into what promises to be a crucial stage in directing the immediate course of the pack.
Read on for a preview of Stage 6, complete with live-stream information and discussion of which riders we may see vying for first place on the ride from Brest to Mur-de-Bretagne.
Date: Thursday, July 12
Start Time: 12:40 p.m. BST/7:40 a.m. ET
TV Info: Eurosport 1, ITV 4, NBC
Cycling is like most other sports in that styles and tactics often decide results, not just overall quality, which is so common at the top level. The Tour is a perfect illustration of that, and several stars stick out as clear contenders for the top spot on Thursday.
BMC Racing face a difficult decision in whether they encourage Van Avermaet to chase the break or continue with the near-conservative tactics that have served him so well.
BMC Switzerland recently profiled the Stage 6 challenge, where Stage 5 winner Sagan was highlighted as a threat:
The Mur-de-Bretagne climbs will be seen as a focal point of the stage, capped by a daunting two-kilometre trip up the Breton Alpe d'Huez.
Expect Sagan to look forward to proving his mettle in these circumstances, especially after he was controversially kicked out of last year's Tour for an alleged push on Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data.
Sagan now has two victories and two second-place finishes in four individual stages at this year's Tour, proof if it was needed that the Slovak is determined to make his mark in 2018, via NBCSN (U.S. only):
The other hot contender to do well and potentially take the yellow jersey from Van Avermaet is Julian Alaphilippe of the Quick-Step Floors team, according to commentator Hendrik Lemmer:
The Tour is an unforgiving trapeze wire in energy conservation, but it seems likely we'll see Alaphilippe at least pushing hard to stamp some authority on a stage that is cut out for his abilities.
Currently fifth in the standings and with a capable Quick-Step team with him ready to cut that deficit at the general classification, the 26-year-old could hardly pick a better time to win his first Tour stage.