Tour de France 2017 Stage 20 Preview; Marseille -> Marseille

Today’s Recap

I was disappointed to wake up this afternoon to see a 20-rider breakaway up the road and none of the picks represented. Even more disappointed when scrolling through the Le Tour Race Centre feed to see that Bauer and McCarthy were involved in an earlier move, oh well!

The breakaway stayed together over the last climb and we were treated to a very tactical battle in the final 40km.

Countless attacks went and were brought back but we did see a split over a slight rise which cut the group in half. From there, we had even more attacks but it was a roundabout inside the final 3km that decided the race. The majority of the front group took the left side, whereas Arndt and Boasson Hagen took the right, much shorter side.

The Norwegian picked up the pace just as Arndt was reaching his limit and swung over. Using a friendly moto he got a 5-10m gap and that was the race over from there! After all his close calls so far this race it is good to see him take the win.


Arndt held on to finish second, with Keukeleire winning the reduced bunch gallop for third.

With all the GC riders rolling home together, let’s have a look at what’s in store for them tomorrow.

The Route

A pan-flat TT apart from one very short and sharp climb.


The route is a very interesting one as the climb only makes up just over 5% of the stage. However, being an average of 9.5% for that 1.2km it will probably take the riders closer to roughly 12% of their total time.

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The climb is steep and will certainly ruin the rhythm of the TT specialists. I wonder if we’ll see any bike changes before it? Personally I would say it is not worth it but you never know!


Aside from the climb, the course is more technical than the opening TT we saw in Düsseldorf. The roads are narrow, particularly along the Corniche, with the riders having to contend with a few tight turns and roundabouts. However, there are plenty of long straight sections for the powerhouses in the peloton to put the Watts down.

It will be a close battle between the TT specialists and the all-round GC riders for the stage win.

Quite often in a TT the changing weather throughout the day will play a part in deciding the outcome. However, it appears tomorrow that all the riders should have dry conditions with the later starts possibly benefiting from a drop in wind speed. Although that depends on what source you look at!




After crashing in the opening TT, the Jumbo rider has since turned things around and took an excellent stage win a couple of days ago. An excellent rider against the clock he should be there or thereabouts but I think he might have actually preferred a harder course with a longer descent!


The last TT in a Tour means Froome normally turns up. He crushed Dumoulin last year in the closing time trial and the same can be said for his effort in the Vuelta TT where he put 45 seconds into joint stage favourite Castroviejo. The route looks ideal for the Brit with power sections where he can, erm, put the power down, but the climb should be suited to him too. The only issue is that he hasn’t looked great this Tour so far, yet he finds himself in Yellow. He’s the type of rider who will want to win a stage on his way to winning the race overall and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the top step tomorrow.


Second place in the opening TT, the Swiss rider did very well to set a fast time when everyone else around him seemed to be struggling in the wet weather. He’s been anonymous since then but has possibly been saving himself for this effort. Tomorrow’s route looks similar to recent closing TT in the Tour de Suisse where he was second behind a flying Dennis. Can he repeat that performance tomorrow?



After failing to make a dream start to his race back in Düsseldorf, Martin has dabbled in a few breakaways since then. The climb is really steep for a guy like him, we saw what happened to him on the steep slopes during his solo breakaway. However, at only 1.2km long he will fancy his chances of powering up it. He should finish in the top 5 but I’m not too confident in his form just now.


If Froome and Landa want the best info as to how the course rides at race pace then they’ll need a team-mate earlier in the day to go full gas. Given how well he is currently riding, Kwiatkowski could be that man. The course looks a perfect distance for “Kawasaki” and he will probably want to honour his national champions jersey by giving it a good go. The only concern is that he might decide to have an extra rest day considering all of the work he has done so far.


The Spaniard is another rider who has had a quiet time this Tour, possibly with an eye on tomorrow’s stage. A great time trial rider he will be challenging again for the win.

As for an outsider who could challenge, I’ll once again highlight Bauer. The New Zealand TT champion got into one of the early moves today so his form is still there. Having taken it easy on the opening day, I think he might give it a nudge tomorrow. It will be tough for him to win but he could possibly sneak onto the podium if he gets lucky.


This one is tough.

I’ve chopped and changed my mind between some of the riders listed above several times so far. Making cases for and against all of them and not really coming to any concrete/confident conclusion.


If he gets to go full gas then I really think Kwiatkowski has a chance of taking a stage win and be truly rewarded for all his work over the past three weeks!



Bit of a lottery, and the 9/4 on Froome looks tempting but he’s still too short given his not so dominant performances recently.

1.35pts EW Kwiatkowski @ 20/1 with Ladbrokes/Coral (1/4 odds for 3 places)

0.15pts EW Bauer @ 500/1 with various


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

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.



TDF Stage 3 Preview: Granville -> Angers

Today’s Recap

After being surprised by the Cavendish win on Stage 1, there was no real surprise with today’s winner: Peter Sagan. He looked so strong and effortless, and you would fancy him to hold onto yellow until at least Stage 7.  With the Green Jersey pretty much sewn up already!


Disappointed with Coquard, who put pressure on himself by saying that he was going for the stage etc. It was just too tough for him in the end, which I wasn’t expecting to be honest. Although in hindsight, he is the worst climber of the AGR contenders such as Matthews and Alaphilippe. Anyway, onto tomorrow!

The Route

A long day in the saddle and a relatively boring affair for the viewers. Glad it’s on the Monday, definitely one to tune in to in the last 20km.


Although the road rises and falls a lot, this is definitely a day for the sprinters and is all about the run in.

The first thing to note is that it’s not a flat final km.


It appears to rise 2.5% on average for that kilometre, although going off of the profile above the second part looks steeper with the first 500m being more shallow.

This will change the type of sprint that it is. You really can’t go too early otherwise you’ll burn up. Patience/a tactical brain and a strong lead-out will be very useful here. Speaking of which…


The run-in is also fairly technical too, with a roundabout and a few sharp turns, not to mention a 90-degree right within the final 400m. I wonder if as many of the riders will complain about this like they did in Switzerland recently!  Being well positioned through that final corner will be key, as coming from far back on an incline finish will really sap the legs and take a monumental effort.

Stage Contenders

The two Germans get their regular mention. Kittel will be hoping to go better than his 2nd on the opening stage. He could well do so, but off the top of my head I can’t remember him being overly convincing on a finish like this. Yes, he went well on Hatta Dam but they’re too different types of effort. However, with his characteristics he should be up there challenging but I just think there are other riders who are better at these finishes. For example, his compatriot Greipel.


He won a very similar finish at the Giro earlier in the year and with his better climbing ability (compared to Kittel) if I was a bookmaker I’d probably have him as favourite over Kittel. But I’m not a bookmaker, so that’s why he’s not my favourite 😉

Cavendish should be considered for this stage, but with all of his track work that he’s done, I think that will be a detriment to him on this type of finish. He won’t be top 5.

Someone who will definitely come top 5 is Sagan. Today’s winner has a very good chance of going back to back tomorrow. As I said in today’s preview, I don’t even think his sprint is at his best yet. A podium should be the least that he’s expecting.

Theuns went very well on stage 1 to come 5th and this type of sprint should suit him even more. With the crash on that stage hampering others lead-outs, I’m intrigued to see how he goes in a full sprint. He’ll be hoping to go top 5.

Our man from today, Coquard, will be hoping to bounce back in tomorrow’s sprint.

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If you’ve read this blog for a little while, you’ll know how much of a fan I am of the “local rider” idea! He should be able to skip up this finale, and with Petit positioning him well, he’ll be hoping for a podium at least.

Others who could go well are Groenewegen, Kristoff and possibly Degenkolb.

I would like to highlight two more riders.

Firstly, Michael Matthews.


I was hesitant to back the Aussie for today’s stage because of his crash yesterday, however he got through unscathed. It would have been an unfruitful back because he finished in 5th but it shows that he’s going well. This finish really brings him closer to the proper fast men, his stage win earlier in the year against Bouhanni proves that. I think he can go very well here tomorrow.

More of an outsider, I think pocket rocket Samuel Dumoulin could cause a bit of an upset and a stir here.


He had an exceptional end to May, but was a bit below par at the Dauphiné. However, he seems to be on the right track after coming 4th at the French National Champs on a very tough circuit. The incline at the end of the race will be no problem for him.


I’m finding it hard to narrow down this stage, but the name that keeps appearing in my head who could win out of several situations is the same: Peter Sagan. The World Champion finally got his Yellow Jersey and I’m sure he’ll be determined to get a stage win in it. Tomorrow represents a very good chance for that.


In a massive surprise, Coquard and Matthews to round out the podium with Sam Dum sneaking a top 5.


Doing something I haven’t done for a while and backing 4 riders for a sprint stage.

2pts outright on Sagan @ 13/2 with Betway

0.5pt EW on Coquard @ 22/1 with Paddy Power

0.4pt EW on Matthews @ 80/1 with Paddy Power

0.1pt EW on S.Dumoulin @ 250/1 with Bet365.


I wouldn’t be overly annoyed if you didn’t catch the majority of this stage, just make sure you see the final 20km!

Hope you enjoyed the preview, feedback as usual is great! How do you think it will pan out? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.