This is a betting blog, but my biggest tip for Stage 8 is: Stay away. This one is impossible to predict.
The 2017 Tour de France has really delivered so far. The finish on Friday was so close that even the photo finish couldn’t seperate Edvald Boasson Hagen and Marcel Kittel. The German was supposedly less than 5 millimeters ahead of the Norwegian sprinter. Another bad beat for Dimension Data, and another stage win for Marcel Kittel.
The eight stage is not for the sprinters. Well, that’s not entirely true. It might actually be a stage for the Greg van Avermaet’s and Michael Matthews’. Peter Sagan would probably be crazy enough to get in the break-away on this stage. Maybe look for his brother?
The stage is 187,5 kilometers long. There is one early intermediate sprint, and a 3rd, 2nd and 1st category climb. However, none of those climbs will end at the finish line. The last one is actually 12 kilometers before the finish, and the terrain is pretty flat all the way in. That makes the stage almost impossible to predict. It can be a break-away going all the way, it can be the general classification favorites hunting down the break on the last climb, and it could be a nervous climb where some of the sprinters actually might be able to follow. I’ll try to get you through the biggest favorites in my mind.
Thibaut Pinot, FDJ
The French climber hasn’t been involved at all so far, but my guess is that he’s losing time on purpose to go for stage wins and the polkadot jersey. This is the first stage where he’ll get a chance to get in a break. Pinot won a similar stage in the Giro d’Italia this year, but that was a sprint among the GC favorites. It obviously depends who’s there, but Pinot is faster than most climbers in a sprint.
Pierre Rolland, Cannondale
Another great french climber who’s far behind in the general classification. His problem is his sprints, so Rolland will have to go solo to win a stage like this. But, that is definitely possible for the 30-year-old, who won from a break at the Giro.
Diego Ulissi, UAE
UAE have sent a rider in the break-away on every stage for the last couple of days, and Ulissi is their best card on Saturday. He’s an all-round rider with some excellent finishing abilities.
Robert Gesink, Lotto-Jumbo
Another team captain with too many minutes in the bag. The Lotto-Jumbo rider will definitely go for a stage win, and this is the first chance. He was poor at the Tour of California, but can win this stage from a break-away.
Tim Wellens, Lotto Soudal
I thought he would be further behind at this point, but he’s just two minutes behind Froome. That means he wont be in any break on this stage, but Wellens has the punch to break away from the favorites on the final flat.
Simon Yates, Orica-Scott
But what if the GC riders catches the break, and there will be a mass sprint? I think Simon Yates is the fastest.
Greg Van Avermaet, BMC
Stage 3 was the Belgian’s big target, but he has another opportunity here. He gotta get in the break for a chance to win, but if he does, it all depends how well he climbs up to Montee de la Combe de Laisia Les Molunes. If he’s less then 45 seconds behind the leader at the top, Van Avermaet will win it.
Oliver Naesen, AG2R
I’ve mentioned the AG2R tempo rider before. He can do a good tempo, he can climb, and he can sprint. That’s exactly what you need to succeed on this stage, but again, he must be in the break-away.
Dan Martin, Quick-Step
The Irish climber will never be able to go in a break away, but his sprint is pretty good. He’s one of the favorites if the GC riders are going to fight this one out in a sprint.
And the list goes on. I could mention about 50 names here, and all of them would have a chance of winning. My biggest favorite for the stage is Thibaut Pinot as he just won a similar stage in Italy. He can win it from both a break-away, and from a small GC group, so he is the safest bet… but there is no safe bet here guys. Stay away.
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