2 X Huge HC climbs a Cat2 climb and a finishing Cat1 summit finish..
With GC riders needing to play catch up.
Thomas, Quintana, Bardet, Yates & Froome all need to be close at the finish, Alaphilippe looked dominant yesterday, outsiders to watch Latour, Pozzivivo & Barguil..
Early attacks and breakaways from Alaphilippe, Caruso & Barguil were counter attacked on several occasions, eventually it was Alaphillipe who capitulated with Dumoulin and Nieve joining the leaders on the final climb. Barguil slipped back and the GC contenders of Thomas, Martin, Froome, Quintana, Bardet took up the chase. Eventually Nieve was caught insight of the line by a resurgent Thomas who swept past in the final 200 metres, the exhausted Nieve sitting up and being swept up by the closing mini group, with Dumoulin taking 2nd and Froome taking 3rd.
With 3 Cat 1 climbs a HC Cat climb and two other smaller climbs this has to be one of the hardest stages of this years race and will come as a shock to many riders, as so far there has been no climbing of note so far. The Tempo, Cadence and effort will all be different.
A Stage for GC contenders and purist Climbers, the race finish follows a steep decent. In my opinion, the three best descending climbers are.
1. Bardet. 2. Froome. 3. Nibali.
However, a purist climber who is a long way back on GC may take this stage ahead of the GC riders.
Several teams have specialist Riders who ride the Northern Classics. Although this is a shortened version of the Classic Paris - Roubaix, you will probably see the beefed-up equipment.28/32mm tyres width instead of the regular 23/25mm.
In total there are 15 of the 27 segments of cobbles/Paves from the Classic Roubaix in use. Several of the specialist riders will be on Guard Duty for their Team Leaders. Expect Mosconi to lead out Froome & Thomas.
What an amazing race from the start to the finish, if you missed it, watch the highlights or Catch-up. I couldn't take my eyes of this fantastic race. So much happened it would take a book to describe everything. An early serious crash with Porte left holding a suspected broken Collar bone and an injured spectator. Bardet with a total of 4 punctures and the selflessness of his AG2R Team mates who gave bikes, wheels, blood and sweat to get their man back to the Peloton within sight of the finish. Every corner seen a crash, the cobbles took the toll on the bikes, the equipment and the nerves of the riders. Loved every minute and glad to see John Degenkolb take the win following a serious crash that almost finished his career. Note that Degenkolb was a previous Paris-Roubaix winner and the Pedigree of the first 5 in this type of event speaks volumes.
Just a comment on stage 7 It was a very quiet day at the Tour de France, with the regular sprinters fighting out a brief sprint, following what was more like a 230km Sunday Club Ride. Quite a pointless Stage without wind or bad weather which would have certainly spiced up this drab affair.
Dreux to Amiens is 181km and has a few Hills early on that may create some splits and in doing so dropping some of the sprinters. I expect Sagan and Colbrelli to make it through to the last 50km with the rest of the Peloton and that may be enough, the final 50km is flat and slightly downhill. Much depends on the early pace, a fast first half of this race could be destructive, but my feelings are with the Cobbles of Roubaix to come on Sunday, many GC riders will be looking for an easy day.
A crash in the last 20km split the Peloton into two distinct groups, with several key riders caught out in the second group including Dan Martin, finishing over a minute behind the leaders. Up at the front Groenewegen wins the sprint, but a very unlucky Gaviria is blocked in the final 200m by a drifting Griepel.
What a great finish to Stage 6 with Dan Martin holding off the late finish of Pierre Latour, just like I predicted (Well almost lol ). Stage 7 and its almost certainly back to the sprinters, the GC riders, Climbers and Puncheurs will gladly accept a quiet day off, but the chances of a breakaway sticking is slim. The Sprinters Teams will be keen to haul back any breakaways as we head towards the mountains.
The last 5km are relatively flat, but the last 300 metres is slightly uphill which could blow anyone who starts their sprint too early.
Gaviria, Sagan, Griepel, Colbrelli, Groenewegen, Cavendish, Kittel, Kristoff, Demare. For me Sagan is stand out rider but he's had a couple of really tough days and the lactic build up may be too much, Andre Griepel who looked to be finishing fast in Stage 4 would be my selection.
181km relatively flat, fast and perfect for a breakaway. The last 20km has two Category 3 climbs with the second being a 2km climb of almost 7% to the Finish. Expect the sparks to fly on the final climb, it will be hard for any tired escapees to stay away. Watch out for Alaphilippe, Nibali, Martin and Gilbert who are Punchy Climbers (Puncheurs). Also look for specialist climbers who may not have the power to jump away from the Peloton but may grind away on this medium climb to wear away at those previously named. Porte, Barguil, Latour, Landa will all be doing their best work in the final 500 metres. I have been uninspired by the prices offered so far on the exchanges which have been poor. But I was up early and took an amazing price of 250/1 ew Warren Barguil for Stage 6 winner. Barguil a previous King of the Mountains winner, would Love to take a stage in front of his home crowd.
My Bets Today. Warren Barguil (250/1 e/w Ladbrokes). Ritchie Porte (199 average matched win Betfair exchange).
A very predictable Time Trial in which BMC Rubber stamped their TT skills over Team Sky. What was interesting was that Bora managed to Drop their Yellow Jersey, Peter Sagan on the only short climb of the TT instead looking after the interests of R Majka in his GC quest.
Very flat race with not much releance to the overall GC until the last 15km with some minor incidents delaying a couple of riders. Gaviria taking Stage 4 from Sagan and the fast finishing Griepel.
With some hills and undulations, I really thought that all of the sprinters would be dropped. Cavendish was the first one to Hit the Wall, his lack of Race Fitness showing after two years of bad Shoulder and Collar Bone injuries. A bit nearer to the finish Kittel, Griepel, Gaviria are all dropped by the Peloton. However the two in form sprinters of Peter Sagan and Sonny Colbrelli could not be shaken off, even on the 5% incline to the Finish Line with Sagan powering to the line to take an incredible victory.
My first tips of Dan Martin 80/1 6th and Vincenzo Nibali 325/1 10th, both finished with very respectable places. Probably the most entertaining stage so far, the incredible Peter Sagan never ceases to impress.
Another relatively long and flattish stage today following an incident packed last 10km of Stage 1, who would have thought that such a harmless looking stage profile would cause such early GC damage to the contenders, with Froome, Quintana, Latour, Porte and Yates all losing time.
Todays stage should also end in a Big Bunch Sprint with the same group of contenders as yesterday, However today the final 500m undulates just enough to see early sprinters running out of steam, picks for me would be Sagan, Cavendish who did not show yesterday, Kristoff, Gaviria, Kittel. Expect the unexpected especially when you least expect something to happen. Just one very small bet for interest, on a sprinter who has not been named in the above text.
Here we go, this is my first attempt at a Blog, I'm not even sure how I got to this page. A bit about me, I am a keen Club Cyclist and follow the Grand Tours, I have had some nice bets in the past on cycling and hope to have some more in the future.
About this years race (2018). Chris Froome is under intense pressure following the Salbutamol inhaler leaked test results. Chris received a hostile reception from a partisan French crowd, the French would sell their souls to the Devil for a French winner Bardet, Barguil, Alaphilippe, Latour, Rolland and Demare are the pick of the bunch, with chances to win Stages and Jerseys this year.
As for my bets, for the moment I am keeping them close to my chest, but I have backed 4 riders to win 5 figure sums, NOT including Froome, Porte & Quintana who in my opinion represent Poor Value for money, I would want 9/4 just for Richie Porte to complete the Tour, his recent form is good winning the Tour De Swiss but crashed out here last year taking Dan Martin with him.
Stage 1. A flat Stage of over 200km and a refreshing change to the usual TT opening. Surely today will end in a Big Bunch Sprint between Gaviria, Sagan, Kittel, Cavendish and Groenewegen...
10km from the finish and the pace is Red Hot, one touch of a wheel and your Tour could be instantly over. First to tumble is Richie Porte, then Latour is distanced either by traffic or a mechanical. Splits are appearing in the Peloton and then with 5km to go Froome is Head over Heels on the grassy banking. Now I've watched it 10 times on review and that looked like a shoulder barge to me. Deliberate or accidental, not sure ?
Quintana punctures at 3.3km and is left behind, at 65kmph nobody is geting back in to the Peloton here, Cavendish is dropped ! His day is over. Adam Yates another big GC contender is dropped. Bob Jungels leads out the sprinters with 1km to go, the Quick-Step Road Train hit the front with 500m to go Terpstra takes over from Jungels, at 400m Gaviria is looking for room and burst through with Sagan behind him, with Kittel taking 3rd place. Phew !!