Not always regarded as being a note worthy category,this has gained significance in the last few years with teams desperate to be on the podium and gain valuable world tour points.It is calculated by adding the times of the first 3 riders from each team across the line,discounting bonuses and penalties.This means that bunch sprints don’t change the category but mountaintop finishes and breakaways can make a big difference.In the last couple of years breaks have been brought back because of this category.To identify the winners you need to take a look at strong teams that can time-trial and climb.3 good riders is the bare essential but another 1 or 2 is preferable.
Radioshack – Kloden,Monfort,Schleck and Zubeldia
Belkin – Mollema,Gesink,Ten Dam
Saxo – Contador,Rogers,Kreuziger,Roche
Cofidis – Le Mevel,Coppel,Taaramae,Navarro
Sky – Froome,Porte,Thomas
Movistar – Amador,Costa,Quintana,Valverde
Garmin – Talansky,Hesjedal,Martin,Dennis,Danielson,Vande Velde
Despite having the top 2 riders,Sky didn’t win it in 2012.The prize went to Radioshack,who had Zubeldia 6th,Kloden 11th and Horner 13th,it’s all about consistency.Unfortunately for Radioshack,Zulbeldia and Kloden are showing signs of deterioration and Schleck can’t be relied upon.Sky don’t have a strong enough 3rd rider and the Saxo boys will be working flat out for Contador.I think it looks like being a shoot out between Movistar and Garmin.Garmin have the strongest squad.Their other 3 riders are Millar,Bauer and Navardauskas.This gives them the perfect balance compared to Movistar.They will probably win the TTT,will have 3 riders high in the two ITTs,they have riders capable of doing very well in the mountains and crucially have riders who can get into long breaks on transition stages.
Movistar are favourites with the bookies at 9/4,but Garmin at 10/1 with BetFred look excellent value.
- 2013 Tour de France – Team Classification – Movistar (betonthebikes.com)