Vincenzo Nibali, 2014 Tour de France winner, shown during the Bergerac-Perigueux stage last year. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP / July 26, 2014
Vincenzo Nibali, 2014 Tour de France winner, shown during the Bergerac-Perigueux stage last year. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP / July 26, 2014

Tour de France 2015: Five stages that will decide the race

With the Tour de France set to begin on July 4, we look at five key stages where the overall contenders will be looking to make a difference:

Stage 4, July 7: Seraing-Cambrai, 223.5km

After the drama and excitement of 2014’s cobbled stage, organisers decided they could not do without them this year. Although there are slightly fewer sections and less overall distance on the cobbles (seven sections and 13.3km compared to nine and 15.4km), they come on the longest stage of the race. And the three previous days will have already seen the potential for time gaps to be created, either on the opening time trial, the potentially windy second stage or the third stage’s finish on the brutal Mur (wall) de Huy. Anyone already struggling or haemorrhaging time before hitting the cobbles would be under pressure and at risk of falling out of contention. A crash on the cobbles can result in the loss of several minutes.

Stage 9, July 12: Vannes-Plumelec, 28km team time trial

This team race against the clock is not particularly long, but the problem comes from the potential to reach it without a full compliment of teammates. The potential perils on the eight previous stages, including crosswinds, cobbles and the inevitable crashes, means that some contenders might arrive at the team time trial without a full nine-man team. A team not set up with powerful rouleurs built for time-trialling that had already lost a couple of riders would likely lose considerable time.

Stage 10, July 14: Tarbes-La Pierre-Saint-Martin, 167km

This is not the toughest mountain stage, but it is the first and it comes straight after a rest day. That makes it tricky because some riders do not react well to having their race routine broken up by a rest day. Anyone who needs a couple of days to find their legs again would risk paying dearly on the hors-category finish to La Pierre-Saint-Martin. It is not particularly long so the pace could be high leading into the final climb, meaning anyone having a bad day would be in for a torturous final ascent to the finish.

Stage 17, July 22: Digne-les-Bains-Pra Loup, 161km

This is one of two stages where a descent could prove decisive, and with Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador superior descenders to Chris Froome or Nairo Quintana, those two stages could prove critical. The first is Stage 11 with a long descent off the Col du Tourmalet before a short third category climb to the finish. This one has a fast, technical descent off the first category Col d’Allos before a sharp second category ride to the line. It is a similar stage to the one at the Criterium du Dauphine, where a daring attack from Nibali saw him put time into the likes of Froome. The problem is the final climb is so short that there is little chance to make up time lost on the descent. If the weather is bad on top of that, a tentative descent of the Col d’Allos could be costly.

Stage 20, July 25: Modane Valfrejus-Alpe d’Huez, 110.5km

This is not as tough a mountain stage as the previous day’s with more climbs to crest, but it will be the last-chance saloon. The penultimate stage’s finish on Alpe d’Huez, having already climbed the Col de la Croix de Fer on a relatively short and punchy 110.5km stage, will give riders one last hope to make a difference. As it is short, the pace should be high and there is no flat section with the road either going up or down. As it is the last chance to gain time before riding into Paris, the challengers to the overall leader will be forced to give it everything. And the likes of Nibali, Froome and Contador certainly are not going to settle for consolidating a podium position. Those not in yellow will attack and that could mean fireworks.

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July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone


Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

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Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

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Director: Siddharth Anand

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Ashutosh Rana, Vaani Kapoor

Rating: Two out of five stars 

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

The specs: 2018 Peugeot 5008

Price, base / as tested: Dh99,900 / Dh134,900

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Transmission: Six-speed automatic

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UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024


Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

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Last 10 winners of African Footballer of the Year

2006: Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Ivory Coast)
2007: Frederic Kanoute (Sevilla and Mali)
2008: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal and Togo)
2009: Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Ivory Coast)
2010: Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan and Cameroon)
2011: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2012: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2013: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2014: Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
2015: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund and Gabon)
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City and Algeria)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Dubai World Cup Carnival Thursday race card

6.30pm: Dubai Millennium Stakes Group Three US$200,000 (Turf) 2,000m
7.05pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: UAE Oaks Group Three $250,000 (Dirt) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Zabeel Mile Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Meydan Sprint Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,000m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap $135,000 (D) 1,400m
10pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m

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Phone call check-in: My kids know that at 3.30pm I’ll be free for a quick chat.
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