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15 Jul 17 13:11
Date Joined: 11 Jul 11
| Topic/replies: 5,589 | Blogger: SwingingPick's blog
The riders will be climbing for much of the day even though there are only two cat.3 climbs, nevertheless it's the finale which will tempt the versatile sprinters and puncheurs to want to be involved in stage honours. The 570m ramp of the Cote de Saint-Pierre @ 9.6% is a punchy little climb to the line which was also used for the finale in stage 13 of the 2015 Tour from Muret to Rodez, and where GVA held off Sagan in a narrow go to the line.

This entire stage does indeed look similar to the stage in 2015 as they head in the same direction, however they do not proceed along the same roads, apart that is for the finale. On the previous occasion it looked like the three breakaway riders of Kelderman, De Gendt and Gautier looked like they would hold on to decide the win between them, however once the sprinters' teams became involved in working to bring them back they only clung to some 30secs with 6km to-go and were caught close to the line as GVA and Sagan came past fast.

*** GVA Won this stage in 2015 from Sagan, who picked-up his fourth of five 2nd-place finishes. Now with Porte out of the race BMC are desperate to salvage something for themselves in this Tour, and a stage win attempt with the Olympic Champion is clearly on the cards, here.

GVA has had a superb season through the spring, and he held his condition for so long that it was naturally expected that he would struggle throughout the lead-in races for here, in the Suisse and his Nationals.

It might be argued that by finishing in 4th-place on stage 3 (with Sagan, Bling and Dan Martin in front of him) he still hadn't found any form and is likely to struggle on this finale, however I think his finishing position can be deceiving when viewed against what he showed in terms of his condition. He was effectively on or near the front of the peloton for about 5kms in total, with teammates Schar, De Marchi and then later Porte, either bringing him to the front too early, abandoning him, arriving too late to lend assistance or in the case of Porte disrupting his tactics at what was already a lost cause situation. In short, his finish when seen against his unnecessary effort in being positioned largely on the front, was an admirable ride for being able to hold his run for so long when there wasn't much in the finish.

11/4 at SP and has gone out to 7/2, which is surprising. Very good value. WIN ONLY.

Tha class rider in the race for this stage. Racing aganinst inferior opposition. The one to beat.

* Bling Matthews Was never involved here in 2015 when 17th at some 17secs down, however he is better than that this time around, and it is clear that his positioning in the sprints has been improving. Moreover, by getting into the breaks on stages 8 and 9 it does appear that it has sharpened his condition. The latter stage for the purpose of Intermediate points, which he collected successfully. It also appears that he has changed his characteritics a little if only for this Tour, and I wonder if this grinding burn finale is as advantageous to him as more of the punchy finish he enjoyed on stage 3 or even in the sprints, however he is clearly riding with confidence and signalling he is right up for this.

Can give a good account of himself. One of the main contenders.

Was installed as a 7/1 second favourite at SP, and has found popular support throughout, coming down into 4/1.

1/4* John Degenkolb Finished in 4th-place and at 7secs behind, here last time. Finished in 2nd-place to Kittel in the sprint on stage 10. Has won this year when d=negotiating a difficult finale in stage 3 in Dubai. Also, rode well in the finale over a similar finale to here when finishing in 2nd-place in a GP race in SUI. Looks to better suited over this course.

Could be coming into this at the right time. Some E/W claims. Worthy of consideration.

20/1 at SP, out into 22/1, should be 33/1 as a minumum for (E/W) place terms.

1/16* Alberto Bettiol 23yo ITA rider for CDT without a win at pro level to his name. Undeveloped prospect, however when combining his 2nd-place to finish to Naesen in the 2016 Bretagne Classic over monument distance, with his ride in Poland in the same year, the suggestion exists he can be a very strong classics rider. Still might be missing the robust weight of the top contenders here, but he has a lot of natural talent.

Showed an eye-catching performance when just behind the others to finish in 5th-place on stage 3.

Opened-up at the incredible odds of 150/1 and was quickly slashed down into 40/1. No value now. E/W place robust
Can figure in the finish for the podium. Take on trust.
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Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 1:38 PM BST
Live pics here already...
5-man breakaway making hard work of it, although it does contain some suitable riders for the finish if not driving the break in the fashion of Bodnar from the other day; the composition is:

Bouet TFO
De Gendt LTS
Roosen TLJ
Voeckler DEN
Hollenstein KAT
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 1:51 PM BST
1/2* Diego Ulissi UAD rider who turns 28 today. I think all of his 6 Giro wins have come on uphill finishes, however he is on Tour debut. Has won at the PCT level at the start of the year in a home race. Never really mounted a challenge in the Ardennes. Also finished well on stage 1 in Romandie over a hard uphill finish behind Alabasini. Came into the Tour with some form when finishing 2nd in his Nationals ahead of Felline, Colbrelli and Trentin.

20/1 at SP out to 33/1.

May find conditions to his liking. Solid claims.
Report CJ70 July 15, 2017 2:08 PM BST
No bets so far, but have to be all over Matthews for this one. If he can't take this one I think that'll be him done until Paris with shot confidence. Hope you've been profitable so far, SP?

First stage I've really had chance to watch and there's a bit of wind about, so may not be just a drag to Rodez.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 2:32 PM BST
G'day CJ, good to hear from you mate.

They're going to come into some open, exposed areas with fields toward the back end of the stage, so the wind will definitely be a factor, just don't know to what extent.

I'm starting to warm to Bling in general, he seems to be balancing his rating with humbleness, but also some hard work and decent performances. I liked his ride on the final stage of Paris-Nice up the Col d'Eze, didn't finish it off in the sprint for 4th mind, but climbed very nicely, very impressively. Will be interested to see today, if he has lost any of that hard-burn quality he has had in the Ardennes for the sprint dynamism he has shown here recently.

Going well this Tour, albeit experienced the first loss yesterday with Barguil on stage 13.
Stage bank: 31% of start amount.
GC bank: Froome, Bardet, Uran, then Aru and the rest field green.
KOM bank: Red on Rolland.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 2:51 PM BST
Felline has Abandoned -- that will cost Degenkolb's lead-out.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 3:30 PM BST
Bit boring, like a sprint stage...
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 3:44 PM BST
Even if De Gendt attacks these guys soonish, and goes "beast-mode" because it is the same De Gendt we know can go deep like that -- Bodnar showed something special the other day and he didn't succeed, plus the elevation gain and the exposed nature of the course will hurt them with this crosswind -- it's a factor!

Fracturing arrowhead bunch sprint-type finish out of the peloton, I think.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 3:48 PM BST
Gilbert is in the market, was 7/1 at SP out into 8/1, but I'm not confident it is explosive-enough for him -- he could be burnt-off early -- not willing to lay him at 10/1 on here, might have at his SP price but would have wanted 5/1, actually.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:00 PM BST
With Kittel going out the back and Bling potentially winning the stage -- that would be a 30-point swing in the Green comp, but still hard to have him.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:03 PM BST
All hands on deck! BMC busting it out -- small splits forming! Love
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:10 PM BST
This rise is going to hurt De Gendt...
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:28 PM BST
I think the thing with him this Tour is wanting to be everything to everyone and every time. Even De Gendt cannot lead out the Gorilla and then ride in a breakaway for over 100kms the next day. Good ride that today.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:28 PM BST
Voeckler out the back...
Report CJ70 July 15, 2017 4:28 PM BST
Well i'm glad I made time for this so far. Had a schekel on Adam Yates just in case this turns into a GC fest. Not sure I fancy GvA even though he did win it last time.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:29 PM BST
Tony Martin out the back!
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:29 PM BST
Off the front, I mean!
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:35 PM BST
There could be some minor time gaps on the line for the GC men, I agree CJ, but I can't have any for the win. In fact, I think Aru might lose a few secs today because of the positioning factor required.

I am big on GVA -- I know he has those deep reserves after what he has shown this season, and if he gets good service by BMC and does not see the front until the last final kick, he'll go very deep because of the expectation in him, and be too good for anyone. BMC have shown they are very serious today, all over this race, so am expecting some really fine expert lead-out for GVA.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:42 PM BST
Fierce pace...
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:42 PM BST
Peloton splitting!
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:45 PM BST
Well done Bling backers.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 4:46 PM BST
Bling has done to GVA what GVA did to Sagan -- carbon copy -- almost.
Report monarch July 15, 2017 4:49 PM BST
Matthews !! Matthews !! Matthews !!
Report CJ70 July 15, 2017 4:51 PM BST
Aru lost 25 seconds to Froome, Uran and Martin. Bardet 4, Quintana 21
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 5:00 PM BST
Bling had that second dig when GVA went over Gilbert, and GVA looked like he was missing his.  I think it might have been closer if GVA was stronger, but fair play, that is one very emphatic win for Bling. Good company to beat and did it very nicely.

Yes, Aru the big loser on the GC as expected -- the positioning is so crucial into this finale and the way Aru rides it is easy for him to get shuffled around and back.
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 5:02 PM BST
Mind you there was talk that AST would want to lose the Yellow today...
Report SwingingPick July 15, 2017 5:03 PM BST
That it was by that much, confirms the positioning factor.
Report Autocue July 15, 2017 7:19 PM BST
Good shout on Aru. Given his tactics today, and his antics earlier in the Tour attacking Froome on a mechanical then swapping strategy to riding for him soon after, he doesn't seem to be the sharpest chisel in the toolbox. Roll on tomorrow.
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