Tour of Britain 2014 – Overall Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour of Britain 2014 – Overall Preview

By David Hunter

Get ready, for the best ToB….ever!

The organisers have changed the route and increased the spectacle. We now have a proper, hilltop finish. Quite a few stages with short, steep climbs near the end of the stage. A short ITT and some days for the sprinters.logotob

Only stage 1 and 8b are for the sprinters, but some might manage to make it to the end of the stage, on other days.

The rest of the stages are full of climbs! The GC riders will have to be very focused throughout the whole week, with plenty of opportunities to make and lose time.

Stage 3 will be a massive day for the GC, with the climb of The Tumble. This is a proper climb and much harder than the “summit” finish, in 2013. It has a 3km section at 9% and is one for the pure climbers. The other stages are great for punchy riders, with short, steep climbs at the end of stages. There are a quite a few of these riders here.

The 8.8km ITT, will probably not significantly change the outcome of the race, but could see some minor movements.

Who are the contenders?

Wiggins, Lopez, Chavanel, Bauer, Kwiatkowski, Izagirre, Visconti, Bongiorno, Zardini, Konig, Voss, Cummings and Roche.

The form of Wiggins is unknown. He rode on the track in the Commonwealth Games and will find it hard to switch back and win this race. The nature of the course doesn’t really suit him either. He’s not explosive and will struggle to match the others on the short climbs. David Lopez could be their plan B, but he did the Tour, then San Sebastian and hasn’t been seen since. Maybe, Sebastian Henao, will get a chance to shine.

The course is perfect for Michal Kwiatkowski. He returned to action in Plouay, and animated the race. This was his first race since the Tour, so he won’t be in top condition yet.

Movistar arrive with Izagirre and Visconti. Both suit the course, but who is team leader?

Bardiani have the talented youngsters, Bongiorno and Zardini. Both are explosive climbers and will attack on the climbs, but need time as their TT skills aren’t the best.

NetApp have both Konig and Voss. Konig had a bad time in America, so his form is not great. It is rumoured that he will leave the team, so they might not want him to lead. Paul Voss is an excellent option. He just finished 5th in the Arctic Race of Norway and will go well here.

Sylvain Chavanel is in great form. He just won Tour de Poitou-Charentes and Plouay. The route is almost perfect for him, just the climb of The Tumble, will cause him difficulty. Can he hang tough on stage 3?

Jack Bauer was 5th in 2013. He is in the same boat as Chavanel, how he copes on stage 3, will determine his role in the race.

Then we have Cummings and Roche. The Irishman seems the better of these two. He’ll cope fine with stage 3 and his fast finish will be important on the other days.

Prediction time…

Chavanel is the rider in the best form just now, but I have my doubts about stage 3. The first 4km of the climb is at over 8% and this could be too much for him.

I don’t think Kwiatkowski will be at the level required to win this race, with just 1 race since the Tour, it will take him a while to find his legs.

Sky have multiple cards to play. I would like to see them allow Henao to attack on The Tumble. He is their most explosive climber and the course suits him well, but I expect them to all ride for Wiggins.

Movistar have a very good chance of winning the race. Izagirre copes well with the climbs and won’t lose too much time in the ITT, but I’m going to go with Bongiorno, from Bardiani. The young man, is an amazing climber and very explosive. His weakness is his TT ability and he’ll need a good lead for that stage. Look for him and Zardini, attacking like mad men, in the opening stages of the race. Saying that, if Chava doesn’t lose time on stage 3, the race should be his!

David Hunter

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