By David Hunter
The end of the season is upon us.
The riders head from Bonneval to Tours, travelling 237.5km. The weather forecast seems to be favouring the riders and they should get a nice day, with not much wind.Despite the length of the race, it’s decided in the 30km, with 3 short, steep climbs.
These 3 climbs are all steep, around the 8% mark. They beg for riders to attack and try to distance the sprinters. This race is still thought to be sprinter friendly, despite recent history.
John Degenkolb took a rare sprint win, in 2013. Both he and Demare spoiled the party, by joining the break on the final climb. This killed the momentum and allowed their teammates to re-join and we got a sprint finish.
Both of these riders are back again and looking to win. Demare seems to have narrowed the gap a little and Degenkolb is surely tired after such a difficult Vuelta. Demare had a horrible Tour, but has returned to top form, in recent weeks.
Giacomo Nizzolo is a rider who could challenge for the podium. He likes tough races and can sprint well, after such races. His 3rd placed in Paris-Bourges was a welcome return to form and he wants to end the season on a high.
Jens Debusschere is the other fast man here. He has been very consistent recently, but lacking a win. I can’t see him beating Degenkolb and Demare.
That leaves us with riders looking to break away, and we have quite a few!
Breschel, Van Avermaet, De Gendt, Ligthart, Vanmarcke, Voeckler, Bauer, Chavanel, Feillu, Van Staeyen, Drucker and Rossetto.
I have a feeling we won’t get a sprint finish, and I like the look of Voeckler. The short, steep climbs are ideal for him and he can deliver the first French win since 2006. Come on Tommy!
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