By David Hunter
France, here we come!
With the riders looking forward to a well earned rest, most arrive here looking forward to two final races, in France. Paris-Bourges, is the first of these, with Paris-Tours, on Sunday.
This race usually ends in a sprint, thanks to a kind looking profile.
The downhill finale, allows the sprinters to pick up plenty of speed for the sprint finish. There will be a chance of rain, all day, and a fairly strong headwind, as the peloton head for Bourges. This should help ensure we get a sprint finish.
Back in 2013, it was John Degenkolb, who took a narrow win over Arnaud Demare. With Demare resting for Sunday, Degenkolb is the big favourite.
Since the Vuelta, Degenkolb was ninth in the World Championship RR, 2nd in Munsterland Giro and 2nd in Binche. He does seem to be feeling the effects of a long season and isn’t as fresh as in 2013.
Participating teams are AG2R, Trek, Giant, Roubaix, Tinkoff, La Pomme Marseille, Topsport, Bretagne, Vorarlberg, FDJ and Wanty. Not a stellar field, but we do have some quality.
AG2R will be looking towards Hutarovich. This will be his last chance to win for the team, as he joins Bretagne, in 2015. Wanty-Groupe Gobert will be pinning their hopes on Roy Jans. The 24 year old, Belgian, is a good talent. He will hope to go top 5, just like in the Brussels Cycling Classic.
Matti Breschel seems to be Tinkoff’s sprinter, these days, although Morkov is a decent option. Remember, he has a Grand Tour sprint stage to his name.
Trek arrive with 2 fast men: Nizzolo and Stuyven. They should really turn to the Italian, but he was a DNF in the Tour de l’Eurometropole.
Petit was quite strong in Binche, but Cofidis will need to eliminate quite a few sprinters, to let him have a big chance.
IAM Cycling have Holst Enger and Reynes, or Chavanel for the break. Holst Enger is a classy, young rider. He has started to form a good relationship with Reynes, and will look to improve on his recent performances.
A lesser known rider, who has a good chance is Baptiste Planckaert of Roubaix Lille Metropole. He finished off the Tour de l’Eurometropole with two, top 10 finishes. At 26, he isn’t young, but has slowly made his way up the ranks of the cycling world. It would be nice to see him break into the top 5.
We’ll get a sprint and Degenkolb is the fastest, so he should win. I say should as he is tired and might not want to use up too much energy for Paris-Tours, on Sunday. If he takes it easy, both Nizzolo and Stuyven are capable of winning. I wonder who Trek will pick to sprint.
Follow us in facebook https://www.facebook.com/CiclismoInternacionalLatinoamerica?fref=ts … or Twitter @CiclismoInter