1 july - 23 july
HERE WE... HERE WE... HERE WE DUCKING GO
Grand depart from dusseldorf. Tony Martin will be absolutely dying to win the prologue on home soil and take the first yellow jersey. Despite being a year or two past his peak, I wouldnt bet against him.
STATS (for rich)
- 3540 km
- 5 mountain stages, 5 hilly stages, 9 flat stages, 1 prologue, 1 individual time trial
- fewer tt km than ever before
- ALL 5 French mountain ranges feature
- echelons banned in luxembourg this year for stage 3
BAD - ONLY 3 mountain top finishes
GOOD - they include planches des belles filles and peyragudes (16% in final km) and motherfucking IZOARD for the first time. The stage to serre chevalier, with the ascent of galibier, Croix de fer and telegraphe looks good too.
BAD - 200 km flat stage 11 looks well dull.
GOOD - 100 KM vicious mountain stage to foix on Bastille day
FROOME - favourite. Again. Everyone's favourite crazy legs descending, stem staring, uphill sprinter (sans bike). However, not shown amazing form this year, but you could say that about a few of these boys... stupidly strong team around him too. If he finishes, he'll podium for sure, but got a sneaky suspicion he won't win this time...
PORTE - coming into this, he's looking like the form rider. But , much like Thomas, he always has at least one bad day in a 3 week race. Team concerns too? Surprising for bmc, but he was well isolated at dauphine. He'll be right up there and prob in yellow at some point, but cant see him winning.
QUINTANA - already failed in his giro/tour double. Despite that, and like many contenders this year, not looking to quite have the form of previous years, the lack of tt kms will help him, and there's enough brutal gradients to keep him interested, but will the lack of mountain Top finishes be his undoing?Reckon he might just win y'know...
CONTADOR - twilight of his gc career now and he'll do well to podium. He'll liven the race up no end though - expect lots of attacking from him...
PINOT - another to look decent in the dauphine without actually looking world beating... stands a chance, for sure, but dont think hes got the strength of riders around him he'd need.Will he be the first French winner in 312 years? Don't think so...
Aru - looked in decent nick at dauphine, after being distraught to miss the giro when it came to his home island. Top 5 for sure, maybe podium. But equally, could end up seeing fuglsang step up to team leader if it all goes pear shaped.
Chaves- rebuilding his season after injury. Short of km, shouldn't stand a chance. BUT let's not forget he podiumed (ugh) twice in grand tours last year. And he has a lovely smile
Bardet- just can't see it happening. Sorry, France.
valverde - cunt
Meintjes - meintNO
Uran - sorry carlton
Martin (d) just not quite a gt gc man, sadly
Ah Peter. Lovely Peter sagan. Sell me a bora oven why don't you. Absolutely nailed on for green, if he stays in the race.
Kittels gotta be favourite for the early sprints at least, whether he makes it through the first 3 weeks, we'll see
Griepel- will pick up a stage or two
Cav - never ever write him off back too soon from injury - won't win a stage
Degenkolb/kristoff - both had pretty indifferent seasons, but both capable of hanging in there on a tricky/lumpy stage and sneaking a win
Demare/bouhanni- let's see who the premier second tier sprinter from France is...
Straight fight between meintjes, buchmann and whichever Yates is racing this month. Too hard to call, so I won't.
Hmm. Tough one. Majka will have another go I'm sure. Maybe chaves if he gets knocked out of gc contention early on. Izaguirre looked great at timed in tour de suisse, so I'll go for him.
STAGE WIN HOPES
beautiful Thomas de gendt
Stone cold Steve Cummings
Phinney (casual solo descent attack like atoc a few years ago please)
LEAST CONVINCING DUAL TEAM LEADERSHIP
uran + talansky. Congrats, cannondale-drapac!