The first of the two big warm-up races. Let’s take a look at the individual stages.
A start with a few climbs, which should establish the morning break. Then they do two laps on a circuit. It should be a sprint, but we will have to see if any teams will attack the last climb.
A bit more climbing than on the first day, but the last 50 km are quite easy. We will have to see if the breakaway can fool the fast men.
The first difficult finish should see a reduced GC sprint. With bonus seconds on the line, expect a lot of riders to want to take the stage.
A long, flat time trial. I do enjoy them and we need longer TTs if you ask me. It is one of the most important days here.
A day for the sprinters.
I think a lot of teams will be interested in joining the morning breakaway. With almost 3000 climbing meters, I doubt a lot of teams will control it for their sprinter.
Absolutely fantastic start – Col du Galibier from the very start. Either a strong break will go or a GC team will want to make the stage difficult from the very start.
With the TT, the most important day of the race. A very demanding climb at the end, but a strong breakaway is likely to form too.
Jumbo-Visma – with the best team, by far, of the race. With Roglic and Vingegaard here, they have two options. I expect both of them to be well placed after the TT and I expect the same strategy as we saw in Basque Country, I just think we see a stronger Roglic.
Mas – he could go very well, but we will have to see if he can do a good TT. Sometimes he performs very well, sometimes he does not. Another issue is, he rarely performs at his top level outside Grand Tours, I think he is a few percent off ahead of the TdF.
Bahrain with Haig and Caruso. Both will need to do a great TT to have a change. I think both of them will be some of the strongest climbers, but I do not think they can win – due to their weak TT. I think Haig can fight for a spot on the podium, Caruso for a solid placement inside the top-10.
Kelderman – let’s see what he has left. Some riders perform really well 1-2 weeks after a GT and he did have good legs in the Giro d’Italia. He has a very strong time trial as well, which is a major bonus. I think he will do quite well.
UAE – with McNulty, who has a good TT and Ayuso, who is the better climber of the two. They are in the same category as Bahrain, they will need to do a very good TT – both of them to fight for the win. I expect both of them in the top-10 at the end of the race.
Hart – let’s see what the Brit can do, he has not been ill or injured for some time – I do hope he gets back to his top level soon. It does not seem like he will be picked for the TdF – if he wants to, he must perform well here.
Gaudu – TT is a big problem, expect him to fight for stage wins.
O’Connor – see above.
Padun – on EF setup. In his first TT of the year, he took a win. He could be very surprising if he climbs as well as last year.
Who will win?
I think Jumbo-Visma got this. A win for Roglic.