Last time Germany held the Grand Depart was in 1987 and it was a 6km Prologue which was won by a Dutchman. Things were different then and Germany was actually called West Germany, there were 25 stages in the race and the first six were held in West Germany. It wasn't till the flat stage 15 that a German actually won a stage, though. Yes, Rolf Golz was a West German. Then when the Tour again visited Germany in 2005, this time for stages 7 and 8, Jan Ullrich effectively won stage 20 since Armstrong cheated. So, Germans win a stage of the Tour when it visits the German country, just not the stages on their actual soil.
It is easily understandible why Tony 'Panzerwagen' Martin is the favourite for the opening stage of this year's Tour. One of the most successful all-time riders in the TT discipline, the German powerhouse is riding on home roads and in front of a crowd with high expectations of a Germany victory. With TdF interest in Germany waning over the years, it can be understood that this might be one way the race organisers have planned to reignite interest in their race amongst the German people -- give them a German stage winner. And for the first time on home soil.
Taking into account Martin's recent Nationals win over a 48km ITT race, one would be ready to order a round of German beer to celebrate the imminent German in Germany stage winner to begin the Tour this year. However, looking closer at Martin's results this season in his pet event, and a different narrative begins to appear, one which suggests there might be value to be found elsewhere, particularly with the MOV entrant, the 30yo ESP rider Jonathan Castroviejo.
Firstly, Tony Martin is a better TT rider than Castroviejo, however this season Castroviejo beat Martin by 4secs in an 18km ITT in the Algarve at the start of the year, and Martin only beat Roglic and Kwiatkowski by 1sec in that race. Martin was then nowhere by his standards in the 14.5km ITT in Paris-Nice which ended on Mt Brouilly. Next, Martin again misfired in the 13.4km ITT in the Belgium Tour when second to Matthias Brandle by 14secs, whilst equalling the time of Wout Van Aert and Sylvain Chavanel. Last start, in the Dauphine, Martin again failed when going off at prohibitive odds over an unsuitably hilly course of 23.5kms, when getting beat by Porte by 12secs, although he did hold down the 2nd-place, comfortably. I remember saying on the Dauphine thread that it was a missed lay opportunity on Martin on that stage, since he was so cheap.
In fact, the only race Martin has won for his new KAT team was the 181km stage 2 in Valencia, when he daredevilled the 6km descent of the final climb, which they had approached twice.
The 14km out-and-back, fly-swatter-shaped course of Dusseldorf here, with the majority of the course along the Rhein River, makes the flat and straight road there an advantage for Martin's power-riding characteristic, and I think he should win. Nevertheless, Castroviejo has improved in the last two years in the TT discipline. Moreover, Castroviejo also won his Nationals race in the ITT recently, over what was a 43.1km course, and he did so by over a minute to the next Spaniard -- a dominant performance.
At 20/1 Castroviejo represents the value in the race. I think Martin should win, since he should be capable of digging down deep in front of a partisan crowd and he does enjoy the big stage, however I think Castroviejo should get onto the podium and in so-doing make both bets successful.
In conclusion; Martin to win and WIN ONLY at 2/1, Castroviejo to shorten on here and podium on an E/W basis at 20/1, which represents sensational value.
Fastest time wins this race. As CM suggests, there is some weather about. It looks like some wind also, so wind and rain, however the later riders should get the best of the conditions under the current forecast, but that can change, and it can indeed become a lottery.
Tour de France stage 1 time trial start times # Rider Name (Country) Team Start time (CET) 1 Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 15:15:00 2 Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 15:16:00 3 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 15:17:00 4 Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 15:18:00 5 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie 15:19:00 6 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:20:00 7 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 15:21:00 8 Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb 15:22:00 9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 15:23:00 10 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin 15:24:00 11 Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 15:25:00 12 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 15:26:00 13 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data 15:27:00 14 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott 15:28:00 15 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ 15:29:00 16 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates 15:30:00 17 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 15:31:00 18 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team 15:32:00 19 Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 15:33:00 20 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team 15:34:00 21 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 15:35:00 22 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 15:36:00 23 Florian Vachon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 15:37:00 24 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 15:38:00 25 Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 15:39:00 26 Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac 15:40:00 27 Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie 15:41:00 28 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:42:00 29 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 15:43:00 30 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 15:44:00 31 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 15:45:00 32 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin 15:46:00 33 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 15:47:00 34 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 15:48:00 35 Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension Data 15:49:00 36 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott 15:50:00 37 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ 15:51:00 38 Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 15:52:00 39 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 15:53:00 40 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team 15:54:00 41 Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 15:55:00 42 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team 15:56:00 43 Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 15:57:00 44 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky 15:58:00 45 Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 15:59:00 46 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 16:00:00 47 Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 16:01:00 48 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac 16:02:00 49 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie 16:03:00 50 Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 16:04:00 51 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 16:05:00 52 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb 16:06:00 53 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 16:07:00 54 Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin 16:08:00 55 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:09:00 56 Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 16:10:00 57 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data 16:11:00 58 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott 16:12:00 59 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 16:13:00 60 Matteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 16:14:00 61 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 16:15:00 62 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team 16:16:00 63 Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo 16:17:00 64 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 16:18:00 65 Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 16:19:00 66 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 16:20:00 67 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 16:21:00 68 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 16:22:00 69 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida 16:23:00 70 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac 16:24:00 71 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie 16:25:00 72 Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 16:26:00 73 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 16:27:00 74 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Sunweb 16:28:00 75 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal 16:29:00 76 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 16:30:00 77 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:31:00 78 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 16:32:00 79 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data 16:33:00 80 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-Scott 16:34:00 81 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ 16:35:00 82 Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates 16:36:00 83 Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 16:37:00 84 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 16:38:00 85 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 16:39:00 86 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 16:40:00 87 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale 16:41:00 88 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 16:42:00 89 Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 16:43:00 90 Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 16:44:00 91 Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 16:45:00 92 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 16:46:00 93 Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie 16:47:00 94 Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 16:48:00 95 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 16:49:00 96 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb 16:50:00 97 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 16:51:00 98 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin 16:52:00 99 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:53:00 100 Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors 16:54:00 101 Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data 16:55:00 102 Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott 16:56:00 103 Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ 16:57:00 104 Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 16:58:00 105 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 16:59:00 106 Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 17:00:00 107 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo 17:01:00 108 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 17:02:00 109 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 17:03:00 110 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 17:04:00 111 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 17:05:00 112 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 17:06:00 113 Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Bahrain-Merida 17:07:00 114 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 17:08:00 115 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie 17:09:00 116 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 17:10:00 117 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 17:11:00 118 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb 17:12:00 119 Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal 17:13:00 120 Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 17:14:00 121 Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 17:15:00 122 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors 17:16:00 123 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data 17:17:00 124 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott 17:18:00 125 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ 17:19:00 126 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 17:20:00 127 Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team 17:21:00 128 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 17:22:00 129 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo 17:23:00 130 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team 17:24:00 131 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 17:25:00 132 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 17:26:00 133 Brice Feillu (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 17:27:00 134 Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 17:28:00 135 Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida 17:29:00 136 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 17:30:00 137 Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie 17:31:00 138 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 17:32:00 139 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 17:33:00 140 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 17:34:00 141 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal 17:35:00 142 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 17:36:00 143 Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 17:37:00 144 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 17:38:00 145 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 17:39:00 146 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 17:40:00 147 Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ 17:41:00 148 Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates 17:42:00 149 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 17:43:00 150 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 17:44:00 151 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 17:45:00 152 Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team 17:46:00 153 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 17:47:00 154 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 17:48:00 155 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 17:49:00 156 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 17:50:00 157 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 17:51:00 158 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac 17:52:00 159 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 17:53:00 160 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 17:54:00 161 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 17:55:00 162 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb 17:56:00 163 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 17:57:00 164 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 17:58:00 165 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 17:59:00 166 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 18:00:00 167 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 18:01:00 168 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 18:02:00 169 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ 18:03:00 170 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 18:04:00 171 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 18:05:00 172 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 18:06:00 173 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 18:07:00 174 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 18:08:00 175 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 18:09:00 176 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky 18:10:00 177 Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 18:11:00 178 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 18:12:00 179 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 18:13:00 180 Taylor Phinney (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 18:14:00 181 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie 18:15:00 182 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 18:16:00 183 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 18:17:00 184 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 18:18:00 185 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 18:19:00 186 Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 18:20:00 187 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 18:21:00 188 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 18:22:00 189 Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data 18:23:00 190 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott 18:24:00 191 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ 18:25:00 192 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 18:26:00 193 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 18:27:00 194 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 18:28:00 195 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 18:29:00 196 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 18:30:00 197 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 18:31:00 198 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 18:32:00
Fastest time wins this race. As CM suggests, there is some weather about. It looks like some wind also, so wind and rain, however the later riders should get the best of the conditions under the current forecast, but that can change, and it can indee
Nice to have seen Castroviejo ride in the European TT Champion jersey, however it would have been nicer if it he made it look close. Seemed to have been going fast, but must have been leaking time in the wet conditions and looked hurt in the end.
Looking for the Panzerwagen to win for the Germans, now. With Kiryienka holding court, it does look better for Martin in terms of it being a power course. Rain having an influence with more than a few slides -- wonder if the GC men will go hard or ease off a little.
Nice to have seen Castroviejo ride in the European TT Champion jersey, however it would have been nicer if it he made it look close. Seemed to have been going fast, but must have been leaking time in the wet conditions and looked hurt in the end. Loo