Will start with lots of footage of Mercyx and then a flat stage looping back to the mannekin pis or whatever. A couple of cobbled climbs ahoy including the Muur van Geraardsbergen, should keep it interesting, even if it will inevitably end in a sprint.
Summary: Lots of climbing; not much time trialling; never more than 2 sprint stages in a row. Good.
TTT on stage 2 (also in Brussels) before the riders head to France, and stay there for the rest of the race.
Stage 3 and 5 are nice hilly stages.
Stage 6 looks will be the first chance for the GC contenders to show their form, with what’s becoming a traditional visit to the board of beautiful women.
A few nice bumpy stages for the the puncheurs, then a day after the rest day, its into the Pyrenees
the only ITT of the race comes on day 2 in the Pyrenees (stage 13), then Tourmalet day on Stage 14. We’ll know who the main contenders are after this. Stage 15 is also a summit finish.
Brief respite for the GC fellas/chance for the sprinters do their staff, then into the Alps on stage 18 for the first of three tough stages in a row. Stage 18 has Col de Vars, Col d’Izoard and Galibier with a fast downhill finish into valloire.
Stage 19 is pretty much all uphill, taking in the Iseran then finishing in Tignes
Stage 20 is the last chance to win and finishes with a 30KM+ climb into Val Thorens.
Then champagne/champs elysees etc etc
Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic… are not taking part. Looks wide open. Lots of ‘now or never’ riders. Can any of them pull it off???
Geraint G THE G MAN Thomags
Defending champion. Has had his preparation hampered somewhat by falling off his bike a few times. He often falls of his bike at the TdF. Can he repeat his success? He’s strong enough, but lack of TT KM might hinder him. Also, he’ll probably crash at some point
No doubt in my mind he’s going to win multiple GTs. Will this be his first? I He’s been in fantastic form this year. But will Sky team orders give him the chance?
He’s like a bird. He’ll only fly away. To victory??? He’s been in brilliant form this year: only denied more wins by other riders being on even more brilliant form. Despite the likes of Alaphillipe and MVDP he still managed to win Liege Bastogne Liege and the Dauphine. But can he keep it going over three week??? Now or never? Never.
Richie Porte will crash out on stage 9. Poor Richie. Now or never? Never.
A Yates brother both are riding this race. Which is which? No idea. One of them will probably podium at least.
Bardet/Pinot First French champion since Hinault??? Neither of these guys will have a better chance. Neither have been in their absolute best form, but both looking solid. I get the feeling one of them will podium but just miss out on the overall
Nibbles the Shark Says he’s just going for polka dot/stage wins. I don’t believe him. But he’s not exactly fresh after the Giro, so I think winning overall might be too big an ask.
Movistar trident of destiny this actually worked somehow at the Giro. Can’t see it working this time. Mainly because Valverde isn’t going to willingly support Quintana and Landa.
Fabio Aru still recovering from injury. Would be nice to see him properly competing, but can’t see him seriously contending.
Kruijswijk good ol’ shoulders has already had his ‘now or never’ moment end cartwheeling through a snowbank in the Giro. He’s good, but just not as strong as most of the guys mentioned above.
Gosh. That section seemed three times as long as normal. Gonna do some work: if someone wants to preview sprinters/green/polka dot/other business go ahead, otherwise I’ll come back to it later…