Contador on familiar terrain in Mende

France: Defending champion Alberto Contador will be on familiar ground in the 210.5-km 12th stage of the Tour de France between Bourg de Peage and Mende.

The stage ends at the top of the Causse de Mende following a short but steep three-kilometre climb named after Frenchman Laurent Jalabert, who won a Tour stage on top of it in 1995.

Contador too has tasted victory on the climb, also known as La Croix Neuve, winning two Paris-Nice stages on the spot in 2007 and 2010.

"The stage has an interesting profile," said Contador`s Astana team manager Yvon Sanquer of the bumpy ride, which includes five tricky little hills.

Yet yellow jersey holder Andy Schleck of Luxembourg doubted the Spaniard would attack him on the last ascent.

"I can`t say I love this climb. I lost a lot of time on Contador in Mende on Paris-Nice in 2007. But it was in March, it was cold and I was not in my best shape," he said.

"My forecast is that a group of a dozen favourites will finish together at the top, including me" Schleck added.

Bureau Report

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