A 188km transition stage from Saint-Paul-Trois Châteaux to Mende that looks dead set for a breakaway. The second half of the route includes 4 categorised climbs, the last of which is 3km averaging 10.1% meaning this day is ideal for the punchier riders.
As sprint stages go today was actually pretty decent. FDJ were clearly all in for Demare and didn’t let the breakaway get more than 3 minutes. In the end this meant their leadout didn’t quite have the legs and it was Sagan who mugged them at the line to take the win.
Tomorrow looks like a really interesting stage, not least because the win will very likely come from a breakaway. The race will start quickly because plenty will fancy their chances of getting up the road but once Sky, Sunweb and Movistar are happy with the composition of the break they will be allowed a pretty sizeable gap.
Two guys I’m certain will try to be up the road are Warren Barguil and Julian Alaphillipe. Both want the mountain points on offer and are well suited to the punchy climbs that characterise the second half of the stage. In fact I’d back them on this kind of stage whether they made the break or not. I also like the look of Philippe Gilbert for tomorrow. The final climb may be a little too long for him but this is potentially his final chance at a win in this years Tour.
I picked Lilian Calmejane at very long odds for Stage 12 but he didn’t have the legs on the Croix de Fer. This stage however is much better suited and with he’s definitely Direct Energie’s best pick. David Gaudu has looked lively all race and will fancy his chances here as will Robert Gesink although both may have their eyes on the more mountainous Stage 15. I think the Izagirre brothers are in the same boat. I would expect one to go up the road today and one tomorrow.
Mitchelton are likely to want someone in the break and there’s a chance this could be Adam Yates given than he’s fallen away on GC. If not I think Daryl Impey stands a good chance on the tough finishing climb and can beat almost anybody if it comes down to a small group sprint over the top. The same can be said of Astana as Fuglsang slips away from being a true contender. Omar Fraille is built for stages like this but has been incredibly quiet so far. Exactly the same can be said of Jelle Vanendert. Have they been waiting for this stage?
Unfortunately the bookies seemed to have gone with a 200% overround for this stage and so the odds aren’t looking too appealing. I’ve just gone with a fun little match up rather than anything serious. My reasoning is that Dan Martin will love this finish and may well try and find a little bit of time on the GC group while Quintana tends to struggle in these short, high power efforts and so I back his teammate to be the better of the two.
2pts on Dan Martin tb Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa tb Nairo Quintana at 2.84 (unibet)
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