Binckbank Tour 2017 Stage 7 Preview; Essen -> Geraardsbergen

Today’s Recap

A tough, miserable day in the saddle for the riders in which horrid conditions made a hard course even more challenging.

We saw the expected push on over the Saint-Roch which split up the peloton and a strong group formed at the head of the race. Things regrouped though before another, more decisive split on the next classified climb. Sagan pushed on and only Wellens was able to follow. Unfortunately for the World Champion, he suffered a puncture which completely ruined his day.

Wellens pushed on and he was soon joined by Dumoulin who bridged from the group behind. They worked well together and managed to hold of a strong chasing quintet that included Van Avermaet, Naesen, Valgren, Stuyven and Benoot.

At the finish Wellens opened up the sprint on the climb but Dumoulin would never come past him, with the Lotto Soudal rider taking the stage win.


Whether that was because Dumoulin didn’t have the energy or didn’t want to after Wellens did a lot of the work, that’s for him to know!

Behind, Stuyven sprinted for third to keep himself somewhat in the GC fight.

Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders on the final day of racing.

The Route

A day that is all about the closing 50km.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 18.54.16

The first 135km of the day act as a build up for what is to come. With the wind and rain looking to have faded a bit by tomorrow, we probably won’t see any early action from the GC guys.

That could be good news for the breakaway riders.

As for the route itself, the riders will tackle the famous cobbled Muur twice, along with two passages of the Bosberg and three of the Denderoordberg.

All of the percentages and distances of the climbs are on the profile above so I don’t really want to go into too much detail about them.

There’s even an un-cobbled climb thrown in for good measure. It really is a tough parcours, especially when you consider it is all packed into the final quarter of the day!

The riders will face the final passage of the Denderoordberg at only 6km to go.


A launchpad for a late attack?

The finish into Geraardsbergen is up a short, slightly cobbled climb; averaging just over 6% for 500m. A fitting way to end a hard day in the saddle!

How will the race pan out?

Normally a stage like this would be a GC battle where the contenders battle for bonus seconds.

However, the opening 130km are relatively easy so no selection can be made there. Consequently, there is no point of any GC teams pushing on at all. Unless of course someone high up the overall gets into the move, then Sunweb will have to keep it in check for Dumoulin.

Given their showing today and the gaps to those behind, the GC battle should be a two-horse race. Therefore, I think Dumoulin will be more than happy to let the break go to take up the bonus seconds so all he has to do is stick to the wheels of a flying Wellens.

The one variable that could change everything though is Sagan.

He was arguably the strongest rider today, bar the stage winner, and it was only an untimely mechanical that ruined his chances at going for the victory. Do we see another case of Angry Sagan tomorrow, where he gets his team to control the break and go crazy from 50km out? Possibly.

Once today’s stage had initially finished that’s what I thought would happen tomorrow. However, after thinking about it a bit more, I don’t think Sagan gets his whole team to chase to set up the stage win. Instead, if the opportunity presents itself then he’ll go for it and he will win the stage.

Yet, I think the more likely outcome is that we will see a breakaway prevail tomorrow.

So here we are again, playing…



Wout van Aert.


After an untimely puncture on stage 5 took him out of contention, the cyclo-cross star lost some more time today. Was it a deliberate move, or is he just tired? I actually think it might be the former…maybe! Once he wasn’t able to follow the very best on the steep climbs, he’s conserved some energy to focus all his efforts on tomorrow. Now way out of the GC picture and no threat at all, he should be allowed the freedom to go in the early breakaway. Good on short, sharp climbs tomorrow’s profile looks great for him. It would be great to see him up the road in a World Tour race. With a fast finishing kick, he certainly has the speed to bring it home if he makes it to the finish line at the head of the race.

Tiesj Benoot.

So strong today, the Belgian appears to be feeling the benefits of “Tour legs”! He was instrumental in helping Wellens push on in the closing part of the race and acted as a very good anchor in the group that was pursuing his team-mate. Lotto may want him to stay back and help Wellens if they think their leader needs to win the stage to take GC. However, I think they’ll instead send Benoot up the road as a foil to either go for the win himself, or drop back from the break to help Wellens later on. I hope it is the former! A rider with so much potential and shown ability, it is amazing that he still hasn’t won a professional race yet. Could that be tomorrow?



Benoot to win!

Which only means one thing…

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Forza Tiesj Benoot! 🎉 @tiesj #ohn

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1pt WIN on them both;

Benoot @ 18/1

WVA @ 33/1


Thanks as always for reading and apologies this is a bit more abrupt than normal! Who do you think will win tomorrow and how? Will the break manage to stay away, or will the GC guys battle it out? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.




BinckBank Tour 2017 Stage 6 Preview; Riemst -> Houffalize

Today’s Recap

An eventful day, although not as eventful as I thought it might be!

In the end though, we had an elite group of riders escape towards the end of the stage. Some missed out originally (Keukeleire / GVA / Gilbert / Greipel) but managed to bridge across not long after.

However, there was no real co-operation in the group with around 6kms to go, resulting in a flurry of attacks.

Vanmarcke tried his luck with 1.5km to go or so but it wasn’t the best timed move. Not long after his acceleration he had to slow down for a sharp, technical turn. This gave Sagan, arguably the best bike handler in the peloton, a relatively easy chance to close him down.

Almost instantly though, Boom counter attacked and that was that. Sagan, who by this point was fed up with doing the donkey work, just sat up to let others chase. Wellens came to the front but it was too late. Boom took not only the stage win but also the GC lead as well!


Sagan sprinted to second with Van Avermaet taking some bonus seconds in third.

It leaves the GC race still relatively wide open with the top 10 only separated by 36 seconds. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for them tomorrow.

The Route

Another rolling day in the saddle but in Liege-Bastogne-Liege country this time.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 16.38.01

At 204km, it is the longest stage of the race and it will certainly tire the riders out. The climbing today was a lot more frequent but less severe, whereas tomorrow the gradients of some of the climbs are a lot steeper, or the climbs themselves are longer.

Tomorrow does feature the longest climb of the race; aptly named Mont Rigi. However, it is more than likely too far out to be of any major significance but I live in hope we see a crazy day of racing with early attacks.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 17.40.22

There is a chance of rain throughout the day but whether it materialises or not is a different matter. If the heavens do open though, it could make the stage more selective.

Like I’ve mentioned above, we could see some early moves from some strong GC contenders which would be great. However, the most likely place for the first blow to be landed is the Mur de Saint Roch. Averaging 9.7% for 1.3km it is certainly long and steep enough to cause some issues for the riders.


According to Cols Cyclisme the climb itself is actually 1.1km and averages 11.5% with a max gradient of 18%. Either way, it is steep!

As you can see in the image above, the steepest sections come right near the start which will seriously knock any speed out of the bunch and consequently make it even tougher. It acts as a great launchpad for the stronger climbers to launch a move to distance the rouleurs.

Once over the summit there is roughly 30km of racing left and it should be full gas to the finish!

The road rolls for the next 20km, featuring three climbs of note and the Golden Kilometre.

The placement of the Golden Km follows a similar pattern to today’s stage, with it just startting after the summit of the Rue Bois de Moines; a 1.2km climb at 7.2%. With the GC being decided by seconds, I’d be very surprised not to see some of the overall candidates go for the bonuses.

The following two climbs aren’t too tough, they’re more similar as to what we had today. However, after a hard days racing, they could be the perfect launchpad for a late attack.


As for the finish, it is not overly technical, but the hairpin turn they do at roughly 350m out is quite tight.

Furthermore, that last 350m is uphill at an average of 5.7% according to the data on Strava. It should be an exciting finish!

How will the race pan out?

Beats me!

I think we’ll see something similar to what happened today, but it will be selective earlier. The big moment is the climb of Rue Saint Roch and the following few kilometres. If a strong group forms there and they work well together, that could be them away for the day.

There is a chance though that we might see a regrouping in which case another counter-attack will go.

Again though, the race all depends on Sagan.

Everyone seems scared to tow him to the line but on an uphill finish like this, some will fancy their chances. If a group of 5 gets away that involves the World Champion then I think they’ll work together and wait until later into the stage to play games, if at all. However, if we have a group similar in size to today’s stage, then the Slovak will be left with the brunt of the work. Ultimately, he’ll then allow a rider up the road once he gets fed up with their lack of co-operation.

So with that being said, I won’t name an extensive list of favourites, just two riders to cover the above situations.




Unbelievable in the Spring, the Quick Step rider really has had a season to remember and arguably one of his best to date. However, he has gone off the boil a bit really. Well, a stage win in Suisse was his most recent win back in June. Truly appalling by his standards…After having to pull out of the Tour due to illness, he then DNF’d at San Sebastian. I think he is over that illness now though and should be a force to be reckoned with tomorrow. Missing the initial move of big favourites today wasn’t great, but the way he came across with some others indicates that the form is there. I reckon it was just some bad positioning that cost him initially. He’ll love the look of the rise to the finish and is one of the riders who I think will happily ride with Sagan until the sprint. Can he win it? If he’s back to near his spring form then certainly!


The strongest rider of the day in my opinion. He was the first GC rider to launch an attack and looked ever so impressive while doing it. Strong on the flat run in that followed; he covered a few of the moves (closing down a very strong Sagan) and put a probing dig in himself. Not afraid to attack and clearly in good form, I think he’ll try to go solo from around 10km out, if he’s not already tried that earlier! A former winner of this race overall, the predicted bad weather is ideal for him. He loves a bit of rain!


I’ll go for a solo winner and Wellens to take the spoils in the rain.

Montreal Grand Prix, 2015


1pt WIN Wellens @ 9/2

1pt WIN Gilbert @ 9/1

2pts Gilbert to beat Sagan at 5/2


Thanks as always for reading, any feedback is greatly appreciated. Who do you think will win tomorrow and how? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.






BinckBank Tour 2017 Stage 5 Preview; Sittard-Geleen -> Sittard-Geleen

Today’s Recap

A weird stage that ended with the expected sprint, but only just. The pace was high from the gun and the peloton was strung out for the first 40km or so, with the likes of GVA attacking. In the end a trio escaped including blog pick for the day, Greipel. An odd move from him but hey ho!

The peloton brought the trio back just at the start of the final lap which saw a counter attack from Dowsett and Smith with roughly 12km left. They were brought back at around 4km or so left, and Lampaert quickly countered. It looked as if he was going to hold on for the win but he was overhauled at 150m out.

Theuns delivered his first World Tour win after a great lead-out from Stuyven.


Kump and Merlier rounded out the podium, with a lot of the “big name” sprinters missing out.

No bonus seconds for Sagan certainly makes the title fight an interesting race. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for them tomorrow.

The Route

The GC battle begins in earnest as we travel through Amstel Gold territory.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 14.28.28

There are no overly tough climbs, but the road is constantly up or down almost all day which could tire the bunch out.

It is a stage that screams out to be attacked and I think we could see some very aggressive racing, or at least I hope!

I feel I don’t need to go over the climbs in too much detail as the great guys at Lasterketa Burua have all the lengths and gradients on the profile above.

Depending on the attitude of the teams, a strong move could feasibly escape before the half-way point of the stage. However, I think we might see our first meaningful move come the first time up the Schatsberg with just over 50km to go.

From there, who really knows what will happen!

By the looks of things, the Golden Kilometre starts just after the second summit of Schatsberg. It will certainly entice some attacks and could be the catalyst for the winning move. Conversely, a strong attack after the race regroups once we’re through the km could also be very successful.

If we do get a reasonably large group come to the line it could be manic.


Four 90-degree turns in the final kilometre is pretty dangerous and asking for trouble!

Finishing at the Tom Dumoulin bike park, I wonder if the Dutchman will manage to take the victory?

The weather forecast isn’t looking too promising for the riders either. Well, I’m sure some of them will view it as very promising, it depends who you ask I guess.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 18.04.43

We’re set to get most of the rain in the morning, but there are apparently some showers around in the afternoon which will no doubt be temperamental.

It will probably be a bone dry race after all!

How the race might pan out…

Normally I’m fairly bullish with my prediction as to how the race will pan out but I really have no idea as to what will happen tomorrow. As I said above, we feasibly could see a move go at any point of the race if it contains the right riders and teams.

Most likely though we’ll see a whittling down of the pack throughout the day; which will be made quicker if the conditions are poor.

It is then a case of when the favourites launch their attacks. The issue with it all though is, that Sagan should be able to follow almost all of the moves. In any kind of reduced sprint he is obviously the favourite and gifting him 10 bonus seconds isn’t the wisest manoeuvre for anyone targeting the title.

Bora have been great so far this race, but tomorrow is the acid test. If Sagan is isolated early, he’ll have a tough day chasing every move. I do expect Pöstlberger to have a big ride. Will it be enough? I don’t think so.

Everyone’s unwillingness to work with Sagan will see a small group of 6 riders from various teams escape in the final 20km and contest the stage. It might not be the end of the GC battle though!

Here’s my best attempt at guessing who might be in that move.

Belgian Tripel

Sep Vanmarcke.


Another year, another disappointing classics season hampered by bad luck yet again for the Cannondale man. He “won” the sprint stage of the Hammer Series at the beginning of June, but it is his results since the Belgian Championships, where he finished second, that have really impressed. In the Tour of Austria he took five top 5 places, following that up with a 4th place at Ride London. This is the type of race he can win overall, but at 33 seconds back already, he’ll need to be aggressive. Tomorrow’s rolling stage looks good for the strong man and with a relatively fast kick from a small bunch, he’ll be happy to go to the line with some riders. He just needs some luck for once and the win could be there for the taking!

Jens Keukeleire.

I’m a big fan of the Orica man, so much so I’ve come up with my own Kirby-esque nickname for him; the Keukie-monster. It was great to see him finally take a couple of wins last year after being on a 3-season drought. He’s continued that this year with a second place in Gent Wevelgem and winning the Belgian Tour overall. More importantly though, he was exceptionally strong at the recent Euro Championships; driving the peloton for a lot of the day but also attacking at the end. Like Vanmarcke, he sits roughly 30 seconds down on GC so will need to attack and I think he’ll do just that. Another rider packing a fast sprint from a small group, we could be in for an exciting finale!

Jasper Stuyven.


Super strong in the final kilometre to help reel in Lampaert at the end of today’s stage, he will be given a free role tomorrow. Almost an ever-present rider at the front of the peloton in tough races like this, he will hope to put his power to good use. Strong enough to hold off a charging peloton, see his Kuurne win last year, he also packs a tidy sprint too. A rider who can win in a variety of ways, much like the other two, he is a big danger if he gets into the move.


I like all three of the riders, but I’ll side with my favourite, Keukeleire to win!



0.5pt WIN on them all;

Keukeleire @ 33/1

Stuyven @ 33/1

Vanmarcke @ 50/1


Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow and how? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.




BinckBank Tour 2017 Stage 4 Preview; Lanaken -> Lanaken

Today’s Recap

A sprint but a messy one, thanks to some rain and a crash in the closing kilometre. There was a big fight for control of the bunch in the final 5kms but no-one really managed to dominate but Trek and Bora definitely came out the best, keeping their sprinter in the top 20 riders at all time.

This paid dividends with the crash at the chicane which splintered the peloton. Drucker from BMC attacked, but he was eventually brought back and it was Sagan who launched his sprint first. The Slovak was strong enough to hold on until the line, beating a fast finishing Theuns and Barbier by a wheel.


Some of the big names were nowhere; see both of the Sky sprinters, Kittel and Démare. Others were there but just didn’t have the room to sprint fully, or started from too far back. Will they turn it around tomorrow? Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders.

The Route

The last of the full bunch sprint days.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 13.28.49

Another fairly innocuous day for the bunch though, with no major difficulties out on the route. The wind is low as well so no chance of cross winds, but we might see a few showers by the time we reach the finish which could make things more interesting/dangerous.


As you can see, there are a lot of technical and tight turns on the run in, with the riders almost doubling back on themselves at a roundabout with 1.5km to go. If the weather is sketchy then the bunch will be stretched out during those sections and being at the front will be the safest. Everyone will know that, which in turn will make it even more dangerous.

Fortunately, there are no major difficulties once the riders have passed the final roundabout at 1.5km to go.

The final kilometre of the race is fairly simple, along a straight road. It does rise ever so slightly at a close to 1% average.


Not much, but it does make the timing of the sprint more important as you don’t want to go too early.



Can he go 3 from 3 in the sprints and really cement his GC title charge? He and Bora were exceptional today in the final 5 kilometres; always in the top 15-20 guys, but not necessarily on the front. Tomorrow’s slight drag to the line is ideal for him as well and he should be once again fighting for the win. My only concern is that on both stages he’s won, he has seemed to open up his sprint just a bit too early, being closed down right at the end when he tires. He’s got away with it both times, but it might not be third time lucky if he does the same tomorrow on the slight drag.


His team was strong today and he was another who was up there well positioned in the final 5km. However, he seemed to get a bit boxed in at the end and when he did get a run he didn’t have the power left to challenge. Maybe it was an off day and he’ll bounce back tomorrow?


Close today, but he started his sprint from too far back which ultimately cost him. He was arguably the fastest guy at the finish but it wasn’t enough. Trek did a great job in the finale, controlling things well in the last 5km and if they do the same tomorrow then he has a good chance. The slight drag to the line certainly benefits the Belgian, he’ll just need to be closer to the front this time!


Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 17.29.56

Pretty awful again today, he seems to be blaming his mental attitude after DNF’ing at the Tour. It is understandable in some ways but as a top-level sprinter you would expect more from him. At least he is honest though! Nonetheless, will that change tomorrow? Nope, I don’t think so.


The rider who Kittel seems to be throwing under the bus with him in his tweets. Or at least that’s who I make it out to be anyway. Equally as awful today as the big German, he was way out of contention in the final 2km. His team did show some intent to move him up and he was near the front at 3km to go so I have no idea how he went backwards so quickly. It is hard to write him off (like Kittel) but after what I watched today, it is also very hard to support him for tomorrow’s stage too!


Another rider who Kittel could be talking about, at least the Gorilla was somewhat in contention today. He was actually in a great position coming out of the chicane, sitting in 5th wheel, but as the pace at the head of the group dropped that became his downfall. Swamped on the outside as they rounded the corner at 200m to go, he was boxed in and had nowhere to go, deciding to sit up. Tomorrow’s straight run in should be good for him and Lotto Soudal have looked like one of the more organised teams here. He should be positioned well, it just needs for him to find his killer instinct again if he wants to take the win.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 17.39.57

Cort Nielsen.

He was there or thereabouts again today. Orica weren’t as organised as I expected which was disappointing. They seemed to make a move up towards the front at 3km to go but some road furniture split them up and Cort Nielsen was left to go solo in the end. I maintain that they have the best lead-out train here, and if they get it right tomorrow, he has a great chance.


The Sunweb rider was right in the mix again today but he opened up his final sprint way too early. You can see in the image above that he’s pretty much full gas before the final bend in the road. He then died a thousand deaths and finished 10th. Nonetheless, his form

Others of course may get involved such as Van Poppel, Viviani, Barbier, Zabel and so on but I think it’s a fairly extensive in-depth list!


Greipel to shake the proverbial monkey off his back and take a stage win tomorrow. Lotto have looked strong so far and I was surprised to see the German so well positioned on the technical run in. If he can stay in the top 15 riders going into the last 1km then he has a great chance on a finish that suits him perfectly.



1.25pts EW Greipel @ 9/1 with Bet365.


Thanks as always for reading. Who do you think will win tomorrow? Will Sagan make it three wins? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.




BinckBank Tour 2017 Stage 3 Preview; Blankenberge -> Ardooie

Today’s Recap

Wet, wet, wet!

Those going out early were treated to a damp course with a little bit of rain but they missed the deluge that followed later on. Küng took advantage of this and delivered a phenomenal performance, beating Bodnar by 4 seconds and Dumoulin by 5.


Sütterlin and Sagan put in good performances late in the day but it wasn’t enough to break into the top 10 on the day. Nonetheless, the World Champion now sits 15 seconds back behind Küng on GC, still very much within striking distance. Another metaphorical head-nod of appreciation has to go to Kragh Andersen. He needs a big week if Dumoulin wants to win the title and him being high up on GC is of great help!

Right, let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders tomorrow.

The Route

Another sprint day with the now traditional finish in Ardooie.

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 16.34.18

With the golden kilometre being positioned only 23kms from the finish, it will be interesting to see if any of the teams bring the breakaway back so that their rider can duke it out for bonus seconds. I think that’s unlikely to happen though if I’m honest.

We won’t see much action until the final few kilometres but those last 10km will be very hectic as everyone jostles for position.

The reason being so is that we have a technical section just before the Flamme Rouge.


Being first into the left-hand turn at 1.4km to go allows your team to dictate the pace going through the chicane that finishes at roughly 1km left. Due to the three tight turns in a short space of time, the bunch normally slows down quite a bit, while also stretching out into a long line.

You don’t have to be right at the front of the peloton at 1km to go to win the stage, but being in the top 10-12 riders is almost a necessity. Winning from any further back is tough as it takes a lot of energy to move up the bunch.

Ideally, a team would have 3 riders in front of their sprinter as they exit the chicane. This would allow them to keep the pace high enough all the way to the line and make it really hard for anyone far back to challenge. It could be done with two, but it is a very tough ask. We’ve seen this in previous finishes with Etixx (2015) and Trek (2014) where they look promising but run out of gas early and get a bit swamped. It was only Boonen’s tactical awareness that won him it in 2015.

Last year saw the break almost make it to the line but they were caught in the closing hundred metres. Out of nowhere, Sagan weaved his way through the pack to claim victory. An incredible bit of bike handling.

Will we see something similar this year?



Won this stage last year with some great bike handling. Won the opening stage thanks to some good bike handling. Same again tomorrow? He’s clearly on great form just now and will no doubt find himself positioned well going into the final few hundred metres. The one concern is that his lead-out isn’t great so he might have to come from far back. He did win Stage 1 with a great tactical stall in the finale, but I don’t think he’ll be able to pull that stunt again. He will be up there fighting for the win, but certainly beatable!


Got away with murder in the Tour in terms of poor positioning and that really came back to haunt him on Stage 1. His team need to sort it out for tomorrow otherwise he’ll miss-out again. If they do, then obviously he has a great chance given his speed. I’m just not confident in their ability to get it correct this time!


He has a good record here and a strong lead-out train dedicated to help him get a stage win. Although that didn’t really help on Stage 1 as he ended up in a bad position. His sprint was a bit “meh” too, but on his return to racing after the Tour it was much better than some. An aggressive sprinter in terms of his risk taking, he should be up there tomorrow fighting for the win.



Oh so close on the opening day, he just needs to work on his bike throw! It’s good to see him take another step up this year. He has a solid short lead-out in Teunissen and Curvers, but his chance to challenge for the stage win depends on how much is team risks using Dumoulin and Andersen. If they take the trio into the final 2kms then he has a good chance of another result. If not, he might get swamped.

Cort Nielsen.

The rider with the best lead-out here he has a great chance tomorrow. Orica were looking good on the opening day until they got bullied into the gutter by Lotto Soudal. I don’t expect that to happen tomorrow and they could well string it out in the final few kilometres. Will the Dane be able to finish it off? He is certainly in good form just now!


A case of a strong lead-out for the German but not an ideal finish for him. He has won here in the past, but his ability to corner aggressively with the fast men has been to his detriment as of late. I can’t really see that changing tomorrow.


I think Sky will go with the Italian tomorrow now that he’s had a couple of days of “rest” after the Euros. Their team is actually very strong in the lead-out department with a lot of fast, strong guys. Stannard -> Dibben -> Wisniowski -> Doull -> Van Poppel -> Viviani, not bad! Although they might put Van Poppel earlier as a good sprinter doesn’t always make a good last man. Nonetheless, I think Sky are the team who could challenge Orica to take control in the closing kilometres. If Doull is still left to take his turn just as they come out of the chicane, then Viviani has a great chance.


He didn’t sprint on the opening day after coming back from the Euros, instead letting Boy Van Poppel have a go. I imagine Trek will return to their Belgian for tomorrow though with BVP on lead-out duties. After today’s stage Theuns said that he took it cautiously in the rain, but his legs felt strong. With a few good TT engines in their squad, they could be the surprise package!

Of course there are other guys who could be involved to but I’m not going to make my list incredibly extensive!


Sky to get it right tomorrow and Viviani to make up for his disappointment on Sunday!


Theuns to sneak onto the podium somewhere.


1pt EW Viviani @ 12/1 with Ladbrokes (would take 10s lowest)

0.25pt EW Theuns @ 100/1 with Bet365 (would take 80s lowest)


Thanks as always for reading,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.


BinckBank Tour 2017 Stage 2 Preview; Voorburg -> Voorburg

Firstly, apologies that there was no stage 1 preview. I was out in Edinburgh at the Festival on Saturday and felt a bit worse for wear on the Sunday so didn’t manage to get anything completed.

Today’s Recap

An inevitable sprint finish but it wasn’t the “inevitable” Kittel win. Instead, we had a very odd sprint that was slightly technical due to 2 roundabouts in the closing couple of kilometres. Some of the big names ended up way out of position because of that, with Kitell, Démare and Viviani not even making the top 10.

Sagan continued his winning form though, just edging out Bauhaus in the photo finish, with Cort rounding out the podium.


An ominous start for the World Champion as he picks up 10 bonus seconds and takes an early GC lead. Can he hold onto it tomorrow?

Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders.

The Route

A pan-flat 9km TT in and around Voorburg.


There’s not much else to say about the route than what you can get from the image above. A good mix of long power sections with some technical corners thrown into the equation too. I do think though the technical section is where the stage could be won or lost.

What you don’t see properly though are three small roundabouts on the longer straight sections. They are fairly straightforward but will still cause the riders to slow down a bit and it will disrupt their rhythm!

Now, I did make the route on Veloviewer in a hope to create a Google maps/street view fly through of it, but I’m not technologically astute enough for that!

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 17.59.54

Instead though, you can view the route here and with the “map” tab selected, just drag the Streetview person onto the route and follow it from there.

Weather Watch

As is the case with TTs, the outcome of the day can often be affected by the weather conditions and it looks like we’ll see that happen tomorrow too. Different outlets have slightly different forecasts but most agree that it will rain at some point in the afternoon.

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In fact, there seems to be an agreement that late afternoon/early evening is the time most at risk of showers.

We could of course see rain throughout the day if the weather front comes in earlier. Nonetheless though, the current forecast doesn’t make good reading for the late starters. The first rider down the ramp (Allegart) will leave the starthouse at roughly 13:30 local time, whereas Sagan will depart at just after 16:30.

It seems like a few of the pros and teams had a look ahead at the forecast as well…

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To have the best chance of avoiding the rain you want to be out within the first hour of racing, i.e. riders 176 -> 116 on GC. Again though, there is a chance that all the riders could see some rain, it will just be heavier for those starting later.


The bottom or top, depending on what way you look at it, of the order is stacked with talent. These following riders go off in the first 13…


Excellent in winning the final TT at the Tour (much to my annoyance), he then followed that up with a very strong second place at the European Championships last week. He would probably prefer a more traditional “power course” as some of the technical corners aren’t his speciality; he is much more of a diesel engine.


The Movistar man is 3rd off the ramp and straight after Bodnar – a good carrot to have up the road! Similarly to Bodnar, I think he would prefer a less technical course but he certainly will give it full gas on the straights. Will it be enough to see him to victory? I don’t think so.


The next big hitter off the ramp, the Dutchman was strong on his return to racing at the recent Clasica San Sebastian. An ominous sign for this race and the rest of the season. He would probably prefer a longer course as he seems to lack the explosivity for a short TT nowadays but you can never rule a rider as classy as he is out.

Cycling: 100th Tour of Italy 2017 / Stage 10

Van Emden.

With the fastest short TT rider in the world not here (Dennis), then Van Emden has to start the stage as favourite. He really excels at these short efforts. He flew out of the traps in the European champs only to fade later on. A bit of practice for this?! He will be tough to beat.


Close to victory on the opening day of the Tour, he was then bitterly disappointed not to feature more in the second time trial. A former track rider, he has the explosiveness to go well here. Without Dennis here, he arrives as BMC’s main hope for this stage. Can he deliver?


A short TT specialist, he blew everyone away in the Baloise Belgium Tour earlier this year. Following on from that, he came second behind Dennis and Kung at the Tour de Suisse but lost his national TT crown. However, he put in a big performance at the Euros, eventually finishing 4th. It’s not a win you say? I know, but those aren’t the type of efforts he is good at and to only finish 9 seconds behind is very respectable. I think he’ll be going well tomorrow!

Incredibly enough, all the names listed above are in the first 13 riders to leave the start ramp.

There is one more rider who starts in the first 60 guys that I’d like to mention.

Van Aert.


The incredibly talented Belgian cyclo-cross rider has been trying his hand at more road racing this season. Turns out he’s not too bad at it either! He famously beat Tony Martin last year at the Belgium Tour on the opening prologue; no mean feat. An explosive rider thanks to his background, the technical section at the half-way point of the race should really suit him. Furthermore, if it does rain all day, I’m not sure that will be of any hinderance to him at all. I expect another big result from him tomorrow!

Of course there are several riders I’ve not gone over in great depth such as Martin, Kittel, Sagan, Mullen etc, but I think the winner will come from the early starts and those listed above.


Brändle to build on his good showing at the Euros with a win here!


Van Aert to finish somewhere on the podium too.


3pts WIN Brandle @ 4/1 (would take 3/1 lowest)

1pt EW Van Aert @ 14/1 (would take 10/1 lowest)

Both are with B365 – others might price up later.


Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow? Will the weather play a big part in the outcome of the day? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.