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