Tour De France 2015 Outright Yellow Preview
Tour De France 2015 Outright Yellow Preview for Saturdays start in Utrecht. Its an interesting parcours avoiding the centre of France by taking in Netherlands, Belgium the west of France and the two usual mountain ranges. Also rare is the team time trial placed so late in the race when its likely teams will be down in numbers. A 13.8km time trial opens up the race with it been the only individual time trial of the race. Stage 2 may give the nerves with possible crosswinds from the coast. Stage goes into Belgium with a true classics finish, depending on how time trial goes the yellow jersey could change hands here.
The stage 4 to Cambrai will throw in some testing cobbles with the riders hoping for some dry weather to avoid the chaos that Nibali thrived in last year. Up to the stage 9 time trial any time lost will be careless but likely to happen at some stage but they should be small gaps with selective sprints the call of the day. The team time trial along the lines of the one seen in the Dauphine is going be extremely testing. Stage 10 on Bastille Day gets interesting with a summit finish and then the next day they take in the Tourmalet. Then stage 12 comes on top of that with monster climbs back to back with the finish to plateau de Beille which will be sapping with all the climbing. After the Pyrennes expect the number of contenders to be greatly reduced.
Then on stage 16 they hit the Alpes. Stage 17 is a replica of the one won by Bardet in the Dauphine in stunning style as he took the descent expect some copy cats this time in the Tour De France 2015. The climbing is though with some high altitude stuff. Stage 17 has plenty climbs including a new addition. 18 and 19 are both the short stage summit finishes many of us have enjoyed in the recent past. Stage 20 then nicely takes in the Alpes D’Huez needless to say the climbing is truly key, but that also involves coming out safe and sound from week 1, again being a short stage I am expecting some really exciting racing.
Tour De France 2015 yellow jersey battle:
Battle for yellow is between four main contenders but there are others to worry the field and fight for a big top 10. Vincenzo Nibali comes in as the defending champion but he has still got lots to prove and its being a very quiet season for him, if Astana turn up half as up for it as the Giro he will have a strong support cast. Nibali has not been at his best this Tour yet but again week 1 suits him to hit the ground running. He has Boom for the cobbles, fuglsang as strong all round support, Kangert, Scarponi and Taaramae are going be excellent for him in the mountains. Chris Froome is back and has looked great again this season holding off Tejay to win the recent Dauphine. Froome is of course the 2013 champion and one of the best in cycling. His squad is less experienced but Roche has plenty Tours behind him. With the support of Porte, Kennaugh, Konig and Rowe along with Thomas and Stannard he will be well looked after. The cobbles again are a worry early on it has a fear for Froome mentally.
Nairo Quintana has had a light season with very little racing as he focused on his time in Colombia and conducting the core of his training from there something Movistar has trusted him with. He looked fine in the racing we saw him in and the back to back climbing really suits him as should the heat. He has done plenty work to ensure his week 1 goes without trouble. His team looks extremely solid for doing well in team time trial and looking after him on the lower slops, but Valverde will prove a partner in crime with a free role. Last but not least we have the Giro champion Alberto Contador looking to double up. He was confident in his Tour tune up winning the Route de Sud and for me it is a worry in a much stronger field that he feels the pinch. Support is decent with climbers Basso, Kreuziger, Majka and Rogers, for the tricky days its interesting see how much Sagan commits to his yellow hopes over his green one.
Otherwise Ag2r go duel threat with Peraud, 2nd last year with mixed results this year with last years star showing from Bardet expected only to improve this season again. Pinot was 3rd last year and is the key focus of FDJ after his mountain top win in the Tour De Suisse. BMC have dauphine 2nd and big american prospect Tejay Van Garderen to work for. He has shown big glimpses before and we know he is great but maybe the climbing might get big much for him. Giant focus on stages but Barguil might be finally turning a corner to have some GC hopes this Tour De France 2015.
With so little time trialling Rodriguez has got to fancy his chances at one last crack at this, getting past week 1 again will challenge him. He had a quiet 8th in the Dauphine but he is truly flying under the radar in this one. He won Pais Vasco this year so really with lots of climbs and uphill finishes he should go very well. Support from his team is decent and varied to suit the terrain. Orica have the Yates twins, Adam can be good for classics days but Simon seems to excel even more on the big finishes and he was excellent in the Dauphine. Etixx have two good men to get involved on climbing days but the main focus will be around Cavendish in this team I would feel. Rolland who we all know can climb well but doesn’t show it often enough leads an all French line up for Europcar attracting a sponsor is on the cards.
Lotto Jumbo come heavy handed with a wide plan of attack any of Keldermann, Gesink, Ten Dam or Giro hero Kruijswijk could take a top 10 play and perhaps a stage win. Trek will focus on Mollema here who has seen his season tail off a little while Zulbeldia might go for one of his anonymous top 20 finishes. Lampre go with Rui Costa and he has really interested me by passing his usual chance in Suisse to compete well in the Dauphine, he has pushed for selection of Pozzatto to help in the opening week. He has some half decent climbing help including Oman winner Valls who has had a cracking season.
Cannondale have gone with a wide plan of attack, hopes for Talansky have been toned down after last seasons disappointments so the squad has been propped up with Dan Martin and Hesjedal who came to life in the Giro late on. Cofidis have a focus on winning with Bouhanni as was his wish when signing but don’t discount Navarro or Mate holding there own in the mountains. IAM look to be going with Frank but its an open leadership could Coppel find his best form here? Bora will be delighted to gain an invite and look to compete any way they can. Either of Voss or Huzarski could compete depending on how they fare early on. Bretagne Seche are led by the only non french man in the line up Sepulveda he was 5th in the Route De Sud so a little off the top 2 in that.
Last but not least its great to see African team MTN take up its place here and there line up is decent. Overall I feel Meintjes I feel is there best option and he really excelled in the Dauphine in the build up to this race but watch Kudus in them mountains if he makes it safe and sound.
Tour De France 2014 Verdict:
Firstly I have Froome, Pinot and Van Garderen, Rui Costa in the book at varying prices none that much over the current prices. Straight way from my overview of this Rodriguez looks far too big a price 2 years ago he would have been 5th favourite his decline hasn’t been that bad. He might be 33/1 with the books which given some doubts isn’t as good as the 150+ going on the exchanges. I will also add Tejay Van Garderen another 33/1 shot who can be got much bigger on exchanges in view of a possible trade. Of the four why not go with outsider Nibali who gets the edge to get ahead and capitalise from week 1. Of the four riders at the top of the market he would be the only one I would think is worth an each way as he is highly likely to make it safely through the race compared to the other three.
.4pts Joaquim Rodriguez 160 Betfair.
.25pts Tejay Van Garderen 75 Befair.
1pt Vincenzo Nibali 5/1 various (6.4 Betfair)