It’s that time once more… The 106th Tour de France starts this weekend.
3 weeks of pedal powered excursion… this time, starting in Brussels, with 2 full stages in Belgium before heading over the border. And it will not be an easy start to the Tour as riders will have to tackle the cobbled climbs early in the race. And with a yellow jersey ready to be worn, it’ll be a bun fight to claim first dibs.
The first serious test will be Stage 6 which is a brute of a stage, including 7 climbs over 160km. There is a remarkable 24% climb over gravel at the end of the stage… rather them than us. But it’ll be fun and tiring to watch.
Stage 12 is another highlight with beautiful views and a long decent; picture perfect. In fact this year’s tour can be considered a high-altitude edition with some peaks at over 2000m above sea level. Riders will need to be well prepared and be particularly ready for the final few stages which could be energy sapping and may result in some surprises.
Who do we think will be in contention this year? Sadly, not Chris Froome, as he’s missing out due to a terrible crash during training. Hopefully he’ll make a speedy recovery and be in next year’s tour. Likewise for Tom Dumoulin, who’s still in recovery after the crash which saw him withdraw from the Giro d’Italia back in May.
With two big names absent it looks like one of the more open tours in recent years. Geraint Thomas perhaps… can he make it a double? He’s had a problematic year, so we don’t really know what kind of form he’s in… we’ll just have to wait and see. Look out for team Movistar with 3 very strong riders who could all be up there this year. What about Jakob Fuglsang with team Astana who is super in form…? Who will you have your money on this year? Let us know on in the comments, or on the socials!
Roll on Saturday!
Images: Tour de France