Stage 1 starts on the beautiful island of Corsica.It runs from Porto-Vecchio to Bastia,covering 213km.It features 1 categorised climb after 45km of racing,it’s the Cote de Sotta which is 1.1km in length and has an average gradient of 5.9%.Expect lots of action at the start of the race as first over the climb will wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow.The stage is quite flat but does run right along the coast,thit brings in the possibility of crosswinds which could tear the race apart.The weather forecast is good with sun and 8mph wind,at the moment it looks like a headwind for the riders,but if it changes expect OPQS to try the old HTC trick with Tony Martin the main tormentor.
It should all end in a big bunch sprint and the final 1.8km is straight and wide,so it should be very,very fast!If you’ve been following me for a while,you know that I think Andre Greipel is the man for the stage.He is now just as fast as Cavendish,so it’s all about the lead-out train,positioning and “the jump”.He has a very settled sprint train and Greg Henderson is the best last man in the race.With it being the 1st stage,it should be chaos in the last kilometre and surprises can happen.We have Greipel,Cavendish,Kittel,Goss,Bouhanni,Sagan and Kristoff as the main sprinters.Whoever wins the stage will were the yellow jersey in stage 2,so all will be super motivated.It’s a long stage as well,which could make a difference too.Sagan won stage 3 of the Tirreno-Adriatico in a bunch sprint,beating Cav,Greipel and Goss.Goss won stage 2 of that race as well.In the recent Ster ZLM both Cavendish and Greipel lost every sprint with Bos and Kittel beating them.This shows that they are human and the others have a chance.
The rider that interests me is Matt Harley Goss.Despite his success he is a very underrated sprinter.In the 6 mass sprints in the 2012 tour he was in the top 3 on 5 occasions.His sprint train isn’t as long as the others but they have the knack of delivering him to the front at the perfect time,and Cav used to say that he was the only man as fast as he was.This means that the odds of 20/1 are very generous and I would advise an each way bet on the Aussie.
Kittel is getting better all the time but I am concerned that Degenkolb is his last man.Being a good sprinter doesn’t mean you can be a good lead out rider.They’ve obviously worked on it but he won’t be a patch on Henderson and Steegmans.I would expect to see Sagan in the top 5 as he wants as many points as possible for the green jersey.The sprint point is after 150km and Cannondale might just bring the break back for Sagan to try and claim 20 points.
My top 5 is: Greipel,Cav,Goss,Sagan,Kittel.
You can get Greipel at 4/1 with Bwin and Goss at 20/1 with William Hill.
- Tour de France – The Battle For Green (cyclingmole.com)