We start in my country,Scotland!
The weather is going to be horrible with torrential rain and gale force winds!
The weather will have a massive impact on the stage and we’ll have to see if the riders go full gas or take it a bit easier.If they race hard then this stage could be very decisive in terms of the overall with big splits in the group.
This stage should be a sprint finish(on paper at least) and the sprinters here are: Cavendish,Petacchi,Haussler,Rojas,Viviani,Modolo,Von Hoff and Ciolek.
Cavendish hasn’t riden since the Tour of Denmark,which finished on the 8th August and I think we could see Petacchi given a chance today.
Haussler is not 100% fit yet according to his DS,so I would avoid.
Petacchi went well in the Eneco Tour and recently finished 3rd on stage 1 of the the World Ports Classic.
The man I think to watch is Ciolek.He loves a bit of bad weather,Milan-SanRemo showed us that,and he has been very active recently.He has raced the Tour of Portugal,Vattenfall Classics,World Ports Classic and Brussels.He finished a very credible 6th in Brussels and I think he’s ready to do well today.
At 18/1 he is over priced and I would be tempted into an each way bet.
For the overall,Wiggins is the massive odds-on favourite.Looking elsewhere for value I see that the bookies have Thomas Lokvist of IAM as 3rd or 4th favourite.This seems strange as their team leader is Martin Elmiger.He recently won the Tour du Limousin,which is raced over lumpy terrain just like this race.He’s available at 66/1,so well worth an each way bet,especially as he can time-trial too.
Recommended bets ….
Stage 1 – Ciolek e/w at 18/1
GC – Lokvist e/w at 66/1
Although you may want to wait until after today’s stage before betting on the GC as it could be carnage out there.