The race starts with a carbon copy of the opening team time trial we had last year, which BMC won by 2 seconds ahead of Etixx QuickStep and a very impressive FDJ in third place.
Pan-flat and very, very fast! The winning average speed last year was 56.948km/h.
It’s not a technical route either, pretty much an out and back course with a few turns just past the halfway point.
That’s it really, nothing else to sum up!
BMC arrive with a very similar team to the one that won this stage last year. Phinney and De Marchi are replaced by Dennis and Küng. They’ve not taken riders from the bottom of the pile anyway when replacing them, that’s for sure! One of the best TTT teams in the world, they’ll still be disappointed after their loss in Qatar and will want to remind everyone what they can do at this race. They are the team to beat!
Reigning World Champions QuickStep arrive with a fairly solid team. They are missing a few engines such as Lampaert but they still should be capable of putting in a good time. On one hand you could argue that without a GC rider they won’t be as committed but it’s QuickStep at the end of the day and they love to try to win everything.
FDJ will hope for a repeat of last year’s performance. They’ve improved their TT roster by recruiting my favourite Swede, Tobias Ludvigsson. However, I think they’ll struggle to achieve the same success this time round, maybe losing around 20 seconds to our eventual winners.
After being a very good TTT squad a few years ago, Team Sky seemed to lose their way for a while. However, last year they seemed to regain their mojo in the discipline picking up a win in the opening stage at the Vuelta. They have a really good mix of riders here and are my dark horse to do well.
Movistar are always a solid TTT outfit but they struggle to perform outside of Spain at times. They do have a good team here to limit Quintana’s losses as much as possible but I can’t see them challenging for the win.
Lotto Jumbo are the new kids on the block in terms of TTT prowess. They’ve fast developed to be one of the best in the discipline and will be hoping for a podium spot to give Gesink and Roglic a good footing for the coming week.
Away from those teams, Orica, Sunweb and Bahrain will all hope to limit losses for their GC leaders and potentially nab a top 5 placing if they’re lucky.
BMC are the team to beat and the most likely winners. They come here with an even better squad than that which won here last year!
I’ll go with Sky to get in the top 3 though and possibly upset the applecart with a win if something crazy happens!
Some were lucky to get a massive 5/2 on BMC earlier today with Paddy Power. Unfortunately now as other bookmakers priced up they’ve been instated as the clear and rightful, odds on favourites in some places.
I still think they’ll win and I’m not letting the odds deter me this time! A big day ahead!
6pts WIN BMC @ 5/6 with Betfair. (would take 4/6)
1.5pt EW on Sky @ 11/1 with Betfair – they’re paying 3 places and 1/4 odds (would take 10/1)
1pt on this H2H treble with Bet365 that pays @ 6.98/1
Thanks again for reading and as usual any feedback is greatly appreciated. Who do you think will win? Are BMC unbeatable? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.