Tour de France 2018 Stage 4 Preview: La Baule -> Sarzeau

Today’s Recap

The classiest TTT team came out on top at the end of the day with BMC taking home the victory and Van Avermaet moving into yellow.

DhrOS9CX4AA_zuz

The margins were small between the stage favourites though with Sky (+4 seconds), Quick Step (+7 seconds), Mitchelton (+9 seconds) and Sunweb (+11 seconds) rounding out the top 5.

In fact, most of the GC contenders will be fairly happy with their team’s effort and we don’t have anyone massively out of touch yet thanks to the splits on the opening day. Quintana at 2’08 is probably the worst off but he is just over a minute behind Froome. All still most definitely to play for and we will no doubt see the GC picture shaken up even more on a couple of stages this week. First though, let’s have a look at what is in store for the riders tomorrow.

The Route

Another day for the fast men of the peloton.

Tour Stage 4

195km of flat, albeit ever so slightly rolling terrain as the riders head in land before turning back towards the sea again for the second half of the day.

TDF18_ET04_cartePOT_AI_v2

By far the easiest run in of the race so far, the riders only have to contend with one roundabout at 4km to go and the rest is on one road with little deviation.

stage-4-finish

The final 1.3km is on an arrow straight road with the gradient dragging at an ever so slight 1.4% average. Although the final 500m are flatter compared to the first 800m. The riders will have to be wary of a nagging cross headwind on the run in – you don’t want to launch your sprint too early.

Contenders and Pretenders

We’ve been through the sprinters before and it would be tiresome of me to name them all and list possible reasons for them winning again. So I’m not going to do that. This is a long Tour after all. Instead here are a few tidbits to take from stage 2, if we can take anything again considering the crash.

Sagan is a joy to watch on the bike and his skills are to marvel at. He always seems to find himself in the right position at the right time and he proved to have the speed to finish it off on Sunday. The easier finish tomorrow might not be as good for him but he’ll be up there.

Colbrelli was so close but he just didn’t have enough and he should feature in the top 5 again.

Greipel and Degenkolb were disappointing, as was Kristoff. Interestingly, Degenkolb stated after stage 2 that they were actually going to try to go for the sprint with Stuyven. He could certainly be an outside pick for tomorrow – he has an underrated sprint on a slight drag.

Demare looks good but he gambled and went early. Having his lead-out fully intact tomorrow will help him out, he just needs to be patient.

That’s all we can take from Stage 2 really as everyone else was held up or involved in the crash!

No beating about the bush here, straight into the prediction…

Prediction

I think tomorrow is the day for Groenewegen to step up.

CORVOS_00029215-052

He and his Lotto Jumbo lead out train have failed on the opening two sprints, mainly because they have been too far back on the tricky run-ins. This is unfortunately a negative of their “leave it fast and late approach”. However, with tomorrow being an arrow-straight closing few kilometres with very little road furniture then their style should thrive. Groenewegen looked to be closing fast on the opening day but he just started miles behind. We’ve seen so far this year how strong he is in the sprints and tomorrow he will show that again, taking the biggest win of his career.

Even though the run in is “easy” we could see a couple of surprise results because of all the jostling around. This has happened a few times this year already when Guardini came second on the opening day of Abu Dhabi. Therefore, I would like to keep an eye on Stuyven too.

Betting

2pts WIN Groenewegen @ 6/1 with Betfred (would take 4/1 lowest but plenty of else in between elsewhere)

0.25pt EW Stuyven @ 250/1 with Bet365 (would take 150/1 lowest)

Going slightly above my 2pt a day rule but if I stick with that from now then it will be 50pt staked throughout the Tour include GC bets.

Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will come out on top tomorrow? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Tour de France 2018 Stage 4 Preview: La Baule -> Sarzeau

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s