It'll be a case of who can back up the best from a marathon in stage 7 and a litany of crashes and injuries through the first week of the race.
The 150.8 kilometre journey sets off from Oyonnax with a mostly flat first stanza punctuated by the intermediate sprint in Frangy, sure to be contested again by green jersey leader Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) as he looks to further extend his advantage. The climbing fun begins with the Cote de Copponex (6.5 kilometres at 4.4%), a category 3 ascent to warm up the legs followed by the category 4 Cote de Menthonnex-en-Bornes (2.7 kilometres at 4.9%).
A humid 23 degree day with scattered showers predicted, rain may make an already tough ride even tougher, as the riders move into the first real test up the Cote de Mont-Saxonnex (5.7 kilometres at 8.3%) the first of 3 category 1 ascents.
Almost immediately after that descent looms the twin terrors of the Col de Romme (8.8 kilometres at 8.9%) and Col de la Colombiere (7.5 kilometres at 8.5%), a downhill section of 5.5 kilometres at the base of the Colombiere basically making for one huge climb between the two.
The profile of the Col de Romme and Col de la Colombiere. Source: ASO
The Romme/Colombiere climb combo returns for the first time since the 2018 Tour, when Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won his first stage at the race, cresting both peaks to solo home a minute and 34 seconds ahead of Ion Izagirre. Once again, the stage will call for a massive effort to bring home victory, or make up valuable minutes and seconds towards bids for the maillot jaune.
It's no secret the stage will belong to the climbers, with a host of names looking to make their mark. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will pull on yellow again, although it'll be more difficult to hold off the likes of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) and 2020 champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) who can all excel on the climbs.
Other hopefuls include Alaphilippe, looking to get closer to yellow after surrendering it in stage 2, Enric Mas (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education Nippo) and Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies).
Another rider who could also have a big day is Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) the established climber who soloed to victory on the Col de La Loze in last year's queen stage and needs a great result to climb out of 31st in GC.
The stage could also see Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic), Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), have a coming out party on the steep slopes after enduring a quiet start to the race.
It's sure to be a case of no pain, no gain for the stage hopefuls as they'll have to dig deep to conquer the first of the mountains with more to follow in the coming days as the race ramps up a few notches.
The Tour de France continues with the first mountain stage of the race with the Col de la Colombiere the final climb of the day before a descent in Grand Bornand. Watch the race from 20:30 AEST on SBS and SBS On Demand, with the racing commencing on the SKODA Tour Tracker from 21:00 AEST.