Tour de France: Coming Soon

Stage 1 July 04, 2015 Utrecht (ITT) 13.8 km
Stage 2 July 05, 2015 Utrecht - Zelande 166 km
Stage 3 July 06, 2015 Anvers - Huy 159.5 km
Stage 4 July 07, 2015 Seraing - Cambrai 223.5 km
Stage 5 July 08, 2015 Arras - Amiens Metropole 189.5 km
Stage 6 July 09, 2015 Abbeville - Le Harve 191.5 km
Stage 7 July 10, 2015 Livarot - Fougeres 190.5 km
Stage 8 July 11, 2015 Rennes - Mur de Bretagne 181.5 km
Stage 9 July 12, 2015 Vannes - Plumelec (TTT) 28 km
Rest Day 1 July 13, 2015 Pau - Pau
Stage 10 July 14, 2015 Tarbes - La Pierre-Saint-Martin 167 km
Stage 11 July 15, 2015 Pau - Cauterets Vallee de Saint-Savin 188 km
Stage 12 July 16, 2015 Lannemezan - Plateau de Beille 195 km
Stage 13 July 17, 2015 Muret - Rodez 198.5 km
Stage 14 July 18, 2015 Rodez - Mende 178.5 km
Stage 15 July 19, 2015 Mende - Valence 183 km
Stage 16 July 20, 2015 Bourg-de-Peage - Gap 201 km
Rest Day 2 July 21, 2015
Stage 17 July 22, 2015 Digne-les-Bains - Pra-Loup 161 km
Stage 18 July 23, 2015 Gap - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 186.5 km
Stage 19 July 24, 2015 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - La Toussuire - Les Sybelles 138 km
Stage 20 July 25, 2015 Modane Valfrejus - Alpe d'Huez 110.5 km
Stage 21 July 26, 2015 Sevres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest - Paris Champs-Elysees 109.5 km

The Tour is almost here. It looks a good one, for climbers - as it should always be in my opinion - but dotted of nasty tricks: some pavé here, some time trial there, some short bloody ramps. No Galibier in the Alpe d'Huez stage but it's still going to be a crack, the last chance to win or lose the Yellow. 
If it was the same in 2011 Andy Schlck had won the Tour twice... but let it go. No Andy here but a handful of braves: Vincenzo Nibali doesn't seem so fit now, still you can think he's going to peak in the last week. Alberto Contador seems fit instead, still you can think he'll be exhausted in the last week. Chris Froome is fit and honestly I don't think he's going to peak or to break: he's got in the Tour de France zone and he's going to stay there as long as he need to. Unless he crashes or gets sick. Ok. That's true for him as well as for anybody. 
Nairo Quintana? Bo? he raced so few that in my opinion he shouldn't be allowed to start. Really, I think a minimum of competition days should be compulsory for top riders. Anyway to win the Tour Quintana must change his way of racing: waiting will be not enough, he must attack.
Van Garderen isn't shy nor modest about his ambitions. He seems fit and motivated, BMC looks strong so a podium place is possible on paper. Still I don't see it. In my opinion van Garderen is and remains a second row rider. When the game really becomes hard he's seldom there. Rui Costa, Valverde and Rodriguez could target the Polka Dot Jersey or stages, they and their teams could also play and important role in support - or at least neutrality - toward some GC guys, and here Contator is the big favourite because if his behaviour in the last Giro when, unlike Astana, he and Team Tinkoff only focused on the overall victory. 
By the way, I'd like to see Vanmarcke winning that fucking pavé stage. C'mon Sep! you can do it! but he knows, he's just very unlucky and that fucking stage is crucial also for the GC riders. For the ITT, Alex Dowsett of course! 
Outsiders for the top five are Pinot, Bardet, Kelderman and Mollema. The French riders are in a big shape and I'm looking forward to watch them dueling again. Bardet is my favourite: I can hardly see him on the podium this year, but you never know! The Dutches didn't do anything special in this season so far but they are both serious and committed. Their teams aren't as strong as they should in supporting them on the mountains and their TT skill is good but not great. 
I'm sure that a basic component in the final GC result will be the good or bad luck. It isn't true that the strongest wins: he must have a strong team, a smart DS, a quick mechanic and A LOT of good luck. Good luck a part, my favourite for the overall is Chris Froome.
For the White there are some nice novelties: Louis Meintjes and Simon Yates in primis. No doubt it would be cool if the young Qhubeka's talent would wear it, even for one day.
As far as Green, I think that Mark Cavendish wants it back. Alexander Kristoff is going to be his main contender. No Kittel but Degenkolb, still those sprints suit better others. I'd like to see some young sprinters emerge. 
I'm going to watch it on tv and maybe I'll go to Gap. I miss the Tour mood! 


Anonymous said...

Quintana raced so few? He has more racing days this year (36) than Froome (27) or Nibali (35). Should Froome and Nibali also be refused to start in the Tour de France?

Ilaria said...

Sorry, I wrote it in the wrong way. Lets quote Cyclinews here:
"Nairo Quintana: For some, the Colombian climbing ace is the outstanding favourite, but he's only raced for four days in the past two months, finishing second to Contador at the Route du Sud. Quintana spent most of that spell altitude training on his home roads, just as he did before winning the Giro title last year". http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/preview
The past 2 months is the heart of the cycling season so... We have seen few of him. But you are right probably, I have been too extreme :)