The race is back after a cancelation in 2023. Compared to 2021 and 2022, we have no mountain stage. Instead, a short prologue to start with followed by a tricky sprint finale on stage 1. Stage 2 is the most difficult stage with 2500 climbing meters. The last stage could be very fun to watch if we see crosswinds!
Prologue in Marseille. Despite the short distance, it could have an impact on the GC.
A sprint day. The finale looks terrifying in terms of safety.
The day for the climbers. We will see if 6.6 km at 4.8% can create a selection or not. One thing is certain, the terrain afterwards (last 26 km) will be a difficult section to create a chase.
Watch out for the wind in the last 100 km.
Will the weather stay nice in France?
Prologue: Very windy TT. A short tailwind section followed by a tough headwind section.
Stage 1: Sunny and not too windy. Warm.
Stage 2: 80% chance of rain.
Stage 3: Windy! Expect echelons.
Godon – I like the route for him. He took a step up last year, which likely means they are going to give him more chances this season. He will lose time against the clock, no doubt, but he will have a good chance at getting back in the GC on stage 2 and stage 3.
Gautherat – I have a good feeling about him. He has won a prologue before and is a versatile sprinter, meaning he may sniff up a bonus second or two.
Zingle – crashed in GP Marseille, so his shape is unknown. He has a decent TT but it is mainly stage 2 I think suits him well. A top-3 is possible.
Bystrøm – new team, so let’s see if he still starts off strong. A top-5 given the peloton starting here is reasonable.
Pedersen – the same story as Etoile de Bessèges. Can they drop him on stage 2? I don’t see a Healy destroying half the group here and making the difference.
Dujardin – not starting the season off very well so far. I think he can challenge for a top-5. He will be in contention for stage 2 and something tells me that he doesn’t mind crosswinds.
Who will win?
With a prologue, a regular sprint day, a hilly stage and a day with echelons? Mads Pedersen is the man to beat.