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04 Jun 17 05:43
Date Joined: 11 Jul 11
| Topic/replies: 5,589 | Blogger: SwingingPick's blog
As we know, this race is a traditional pre-TdF lead-in and gives the TdF riders assembled, the opportunity to test their condition under race situation after training at altitude, for the most part. It will be interesting to witness how the main contenders look, Froome is the odds-on favourite by default, and will line-up against main rivals such as: Bertie, Dan Martin, Porte, Valverde, and Chaves.

I'm not really looking at this as a big betting opportunity, more watching the form the main rivals are bringing into the race, however I have found one at decent odds on an E/W basis who might provide a chance to build an additional bank for the TdF.

* Dan Martin Finished on the podium here last year after a largely inconsistent season coming in. This season however, he has showed some impressive form throughout, including bagging a win in the Algarve in mid-FEB at near 200kms, and making the podium in Paris-Nice on GC without really showing anything extravagant.

Hasn't raced competitively since the Ardennes where he finished in 2nd-place in both LFW and LBL, however he does go well fresh and reports have him coming out of a block of training in very good shape.

Will receive full support from the team as they continue to develop him into a GT GC contender, of which this will be only his second season. Opened as a 33/1 shot with SB, and that is only marginally short of the 37/1, I would have expected on an E/W basis as place terms are best with him.

Honest campaigner with the skill and commitment to take some of these by surprise. Expect a bold showing.
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Report SwingingPick June 4, 2017 1:40 PM BST
Stage: 1 -- The action starts straight away, I think the two-man breakaway are home here.
Report SwingingPick June 4, 2017 2:17 PM BST
Cracking win by de Gendt -- superb ride in the breakaway, then the attack on Domont (who was struggling but rode the stage out well) and then the  descent into the finish. When a rider makes it look that easy, you know he is in top form. Great start to the stage race.
Report SwingingPick June 7, 2017 2:59 PM BST
Missed a big opportunity there in the ITT with a very cheap Panzerwagon lay. He was prohibitively short, showed poor form in his pet discipline in the Belgian Tour, and I didn't think he was particularly suited over this course. Very good ride by Porte.
Report bb66 June 7, 2017 3:29 PM BST
I don't think Froome is on a good way for the Tour this time, I'd wish Porte holds it together for 3 weeks. He's shown tremendous form so far this season, there are still doubts he will reach his peak in July, but if he does and prevents to crash he should be big favourite.
Report SwingingPick June 7, 2017 3:31 PM BST
This is now developing into what should be a highly entertaing race. Porte is in the driver's seat after that very strong ITT win, Valverde and Bertie are still in it, but I think that Froome might have to do his yo-yo effort off the back of the select peloton, since evidently the form is not there for him at present. Porte is so comfortable in front of the cameras too, this is looking so exciting coming into the mountain stages and the TdF, next.
Report SwingingPick June 7, 2017 3:38 PM BST
Yes bb66, I think the danger with Porte right now is that he peaks too early, and then three weeks catches up with him, so-to-speak. I'll be looking at it closely, but it'd be really fine to have him contending and he appears to have matured significantly.
Report SwingingPick June 9, 2017 8:09 PM BST
STAGE: 6 -- action on the road, was just as entertaining as it was hoped, and we got some good data out of it, particularly for the TdF as it looks like that whilst Porte has a clear weakness with his descending, his climbing is of a very high standard at the moment, and he should be capable of protecting his lead in this race on the final two, very-tough mountain stages, to conclude this race.

I actually expected Froome to do his famous yo-yoing effort off the back of the main selection, this is something we have observed him doing in the past when he is not in form (in the ITT, where there is no place to hide, he failed quite badly) and he was teetering there for more than a few moments before regrouping and finding his second wind, so to speak. I am not convinced he is there with his form, he might have been on a good day, but the fact that he found that little something to dig deep today, and go with Porte and Aru, shows he is going in the right direction for the TdF. In fact, I think if today was the first day of his perceived turnaround in form, then should he consolidate with another good ride tomorrow he will be building the form he requires for the TdF in a most interesting manner, indeed. I think though at +39secs, this race might be beyond him, but you can never right off a champion.

Contador was dismal, Bardet was disappointing, Simon Yates was mentioned, Chaves has a long way to go still, Valverde was impatient by firing early and then paying for his effort, and Dan Martin hung tough for a long way but was ultimately disappointing in not being capable of going with the selection of Porte, Aru, and Froome, in the first place. Nice descending by Froome, clearly he has turned that into a strength since his famous top-tube effort in the TdF last year on stage: 8, where he incidentally set up his back-to-back defence win. Stage 9 is therefore looming large this year with the same descent being used.

In conclusion: Porte is just climbing beautifully but has shown that his descending is a big weakness, he was also a little unlucky to not win his second stage in this race by checking his peddling action in the finale; Froome is showing signs of the long-form required for the TdF three-peat, and AST should be looking to lock Aru into the team for the start of the TdF as their principal. I'm not sure they will as yet, though.

Stage: 7 -- tomorrow and the peloton climb over the Col de Porte (after 58kms), I kid you not, followed by the Sarenne and then Alpe d' Huez, and I think Porte should stand a very good chance of stage victory, or at least another strong ride to defend his lead against Froome.

Also, finding form can be a difficult exercise for a rider, maintaining form is understood to be easier, Porte and Froome are at interesting positions on the scale of this for the TdF, so it's interesting to keep these observations going.
Report SwingingPick June 10, 2017 2:12 PM BST
Porte extends.
Report ImSoLuckyLucky! June 10, 2017 2:35 PM BST
Is that a First

English riders first and second

In a classic?

Report SwingingPick June 11, 2017 2:10 PM BST
Fuglsang beats Porte on GC by winning the stage and claiming the 10secs bonus. Very good ride by Porte nevertheless, he was the only one working on the valley road into the final climb, got no support whatsoever, and he still brought back Froome and dropped him, and limited losses to the other main contenders. Fuglsang was just too good on a stage where things fell into place.
Report SwingingPick June 11, 2017 2:29 PM BST
Dan Martin gets the third step of the podium -- solid result on place terms as expected.
Report geoff m June 11, 2017 3:35 PM BST
Thats as good as it gets in cycling what a fantastic race.
Report li June 19, 2017 2:55 PM BST
Great tipping, SwingingPick; look forward to reading you during the TdF
Report SwingingPick June 20, 2017 3:02 PM BST
Cheers Li, very nice of you to say. Have been swinging the pick into the Tour on a nightly basis since the conclusion of the Criteriium Dauphine, and making fair work of it, hopefully seeing some gold in places, but still have a couple of races I want to review in retrospect. And there's a lot of information which comes out as the start looms, so will attempt to time it well.

Hope MC joins us on the forum, he's been sorely missed and I won't be putting up the actual profiles and such as he has in the past. So if people want more colourful threads, they should hope MC becomes involved. I will attempt my "form-guide" approach, making some suggestions and observations both for the GC and stages.
Report everyone's a winner June 27, 2017 7:49 PM BST
I just checked in on this forum, to see if MC had his usual thread up for the TdF. That's a while he's been absent. If you are reading, MC, I hope you are OK. In the meantime, I doff the metaphorical to your insight and thoroughness of your research, SwingingPick. Long time cycling lurker over and out, gl Grin
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