Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 7 Preview

Course:

Stretching for a total of 231km from Fougeres to Chartres, Stage 7 is the longest day in the saddle for the riders at this year’s Tour de France. Featuring just a single categorised climb, this gently undulating path deeper into France looks to be a happy hunting ground for the sprinters once again. The finale itself concludes with a wide finishing straight, against a moderate gradient of 2%, which will make timing the sprint even more crucial if a prevailing headwind is apparent late on.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage Seven Race Preview

Contenders:

Fernando Gaviria looks to be the favourite once again, enjoying his first Tour de France in convincing form and equipped with a Quick Step team who cannot help but win. The distance should not be of concern for the Colombian rider, as we have already seen during his earlier career that he can cope with the rigours of Milan – San Remo, a certainly tougher affair than today’s offering.

Arnaud Démare seems to have already fallen down the pecking order of contenders, despite not really having had a chance to demonstrate his great form this season. He was unable to contest the first opportunity to sprint at this year’s race, which was then followed by a powerful drag race on Stage 4 that did not suit his strengths at all. Today’s distance and slight gradient to the line will play into the hands of the Frenchman and could produce a blunt reminder of why he must not be forgotten already.

Dylan Groenewegen has not been at the level many had expected from the Dutchman thus far, with plenty considering this a potential breakthrough grand tour, yet things have not gone his way yet. Regardless, his immense power and positional abilities mark him out as a clear danger in relation to a finish such as this.

Peter Sagan can never be discounted from the win, but seems more like to take another podium finish here instead. The World Champion is eager to get his hands on the green jersey once again and knows that his immense consistency is unmatchable for many, therefore picking up points without risking his safety looks a sound plan on a stage like today.

André Greipel was exceptionally close to pulling off the perfect sprint on Stage 4, yet ran out of steam just before the line while battling against Fernando Gaviria and a testing cross-headwind. The finale today is not ideal for the German powerhouse, yet with 153 professional wins under his belt, it would be foolish to think this is beyond the seasoned campaigner.

Outcome:

1st Arnaud Démare 2nd Fernando Gaviria 3rd Dylan Groenewegen

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Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 6 Preview

Course:

A 181km jaunt from Brest to the iconic climb of the Mür de Bretagne, providing the peloton’s finest puncheurs with a chance to test themselves upon the brutal finishing slope at the end of the day. Rolling throughout and featuring a total of four recognised climbs, much of Stage 6 should prove a tame affair, with many teams eager to ensure everything is back together for the anticipated battle up the Mür de Bretagne. With approximately 20km left of the day’s racing, the riders will be required to ascend the Mür for the first time, giving them one last chance to tweak any plans ahead of the decisive second climb to the line.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage Six Race PreviewLe Tour de France 2018 Stage Six Race Preview

Contenders:

Alejandro Valverde is no stranger to mürs having won La Flèche Wallonne an astounding five times against the Mür de Huy, making him the clear favourite for victory on Stage 6. A specialist like no other, it will take a great strategic manoeuvre to soften his grip upon his dominance of this climb, but we did see it was possible to do so earlier this spring.

Julian Alaphilippe was the man to finally interrupt the dominance of Valverde at La Flèche Wallonne when winning earlier this year and will definitely fancy his chances of doing so once again here on the Mür de Bretagne. It could be argued that the fact this has taken the shape of a Tour de France stage rather than an Ardennes classic could favour the Frenchman with eyes on another win atop the wall.

Dan Martin has often proved the best man after Alejandro Valverde during springtime finishes like these, though must feel as if he is stuck in a video loop with how each contest seems to play out as he loses touch in the final moments to the Spaniard. However, Martin is another rider who may benefit from this famous climb being part of a Tour de France stage, leaving him to be more explosive and potentially overtake his rivals when it matters most upon the Mür.

Alexis Vuillermoz took the win when Le Tour de France last finished here and will have his eyes on repeating this feat once again, though shall not doubt appreciate his previous glory will have reduced his freedom compared to 2015.

Others to consider are Peter SaganPierre LatourGreg Van Avermaet, Daryl Impey and Rigoberto Uran.

Outcome:

1st Julian Alaphilippe 2nd Alejandro Valverde 3rd Dan Martin

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 12 Preview

Course:

A 214km blast from yesterday’s finish of Osimo to Imola on Stage 12 looks to be a surefire opportunity for the sprinters to take glory for themselves again. With little of note until a tame Category 4 climb 8km from the finish, it is difficult to imagine any outcome beyond a bunch kick, especially given the broad mix of teams with an interest today.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Elia Viviani will be able to reignite his campaign upon the points classification and has worked hard to avoid working much at all in recent days; however much a juxtaposition that may sound. He appears to have looked after his condition well, confidently eyeing up another win on Stage 12, where he shall be the favourite for many to secure the honours. His rivals will seek to up the tempo over the late Category 4 climb, but with years of track experience when it comes to recovering quickly to go deep once again, Viviani will be a tough nut to crack.

Sam Bennett finally got the monkey off his back and took the first grand tour stage of his career, though will now be eager to increase that tally as soon as possible. With plenty of firepower in support of him, they will make the race hard late in the day, but perhaps do not have the topographical ammunition required to truly make the Irishman’s rivals suffer. With the first half of the Giro d’Italia now heavy in the legs of many, Bennett could though prove the most resilient of all the fast men here.

Niccolo Bonifazio is a another rider who is likely to want to utilise the rise in the road during the run into Imola as a tool to diminish the odds of Viviani taking another stage victory. He has worked hard within his team to support the ambitions of leader Domenico Pozzovivo, which means unlike others mentioned here, he does not benefit from the luxury of being a protected rider throughout the Giro. Despite this, the strength which he has shown so far is encouraging and a podium placing is well with his grasp.

Sacha Modolo has not impressed as much as expected so far, but has the potential to be one of the least fatigued during the latter half of his home grand tour. Though his team does support him to an extent, there is no depth to his leadout and he will need to surf the wheels intelligently in order to compensate for this. Luckily, this is certainly a talent for him and could prove pivotal when combined with his ability to deal with the climb before Imola, increasing the likelihood of a win.

Outcome:

1st Elia Viviani 2nd Sam Bennett 3rd Niccolo Bonifazio

 

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 7 Preview

Course:

Having enjoyed yesterday’s fractious eruptions amongst the lithe limbed climbers and general classification hopefuls, Stage 7 returns the riders to a relatively flat stage, one where we can expect a familiar battle amongst the limited number of elite sprinters at this year’s race. Leaving Pizzo in the morning, the riders face a relatively short 159km journey to Praia a Mare, taking in a degree of rolling terrain in the absence of any categorised climbs. Notably, there is a kick approximately 20km from the finish, but it will take a well organised break or powerful rider to escape the clutches of those with hopes of another sprint finish.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Elia Viviani has improved exponentially since making the transition from the stifling approach ofTeam Sky, to the more combative stylings of Belgian outfit Quick Step. The season has seen the Italian knocking upon the door of the peloton’s top tier of sprinters and it already looks like the points competition could prove a cakewalk for Viviani, if he can stay safe and survive the final onslaught of mountains in week three. Native fans look likely to enjoy another home victory on Stage 7 thanks to the mercurial talents of Viviani.

Jakub Mareczko might be the one who surprisingly gatecrashes the final moments of the day’s racing, the alternative Italian win still likely to go down well with local fans regardless. He has collected several victories already this season, though the quality of his competition can certainly be called into question, yet he is clearly still one of the best sprinters here after Elia Viviani. With a team who seem happy to commit everything in setting him up for a shot at victory, it is certainly unwise to underestimate this underrated talent.

Sam Bennett appears incredibly strong in this opening week of the Giro d’Italia, already turning in some great performances on unfavourable terrain, which is likely to be a familiar theme again today. The finale itself is not ideal for the Irishman, but his teammates might be able to make the running a lot harder to tire his rivals and perhaps provide Bennett with a slight advantage over the more fatigued sprinters who survive the increase in tempo.

Sacha Modolo would normally find himself much closer to the coat-tails of Elia Viviani, but being the sprinter upon a team built to challenge for the overall Giro d’Italia win, is far from ideal for when it comes to battling for position in the last few kilometres of an anticipated bunch kick. However, he is reasonably talented at managing his own leadout by surfing the wheels of rivals and is the rider most likely to benefit from a disorganised chase into the finishing straight.

Danny van Poppel looks to still be finding his feet at this grand tour, in the mix for the win on Stage 3, yet still not really that close to pushing for the victory. Another rider lacking the genuine support needed to mount a serious and sustained campaign upon the Giro d’Italia’s points competition, he is surely at an immediate disadvantage. He is a powerful rider though, capable of dealing with a real drag race to the line and might now be riding into good form.

Outcome:

1st Elia Viviani 2nd Jakub Mareczko 3rd Sam Bennett