Another day, another sprint stage and the conditions shouldn’t be as wild as yesterday’s stage.
Chevreuse Hills 55×11: Hollywood actor Luke Perry died last week and his role as Dylan McKay in a US TV show “Beverly Hills 90210” was so popular in the early 1990s that parents started naming their children after him. The likes of Dylan Groenewegen, Dylan Teuns and Dylan van Baarle – all born in 1992 and 1993 – probably owe their first name to Perry rather than poets Bob Dylan or Dylan Thomas. The stage itself went to script, and as a pilot episode for the week this was a thrilling start with the crosswinds and a close final sprint. Groenewegen won a hectic stage that saw the peloton split, regroup and split again in the crosswinds of the Chevreuse valley, at one point the gusts were putting riders into the ditch and those who stayed upright were riding diagonally. Things calmed a touch for the final and we got a good sprint with Groenewegen just winning ahead of Caleb Ewan. Several GC contenders were left cross by the wind including last year’s winner Marc Soler, Miguel Angel Lopez and Ion Izagirre for, in a race usually decided by seconds their, chances have been blown away. Egan Bernal impressed, at one point attacking in the crosswinds, if he has a weakness we’ve yet to see it.
The Route: 163km south by south-east and across largely flat terrain where the tallest buildings used to be church towers, then came the water towers and now it’s the wind turbines which provide us with clues for today’s racing, this is all exposed terrain and there are many long, straight sections of road. There are two early climbs to reward the breakaway.
The Finish: there’s a finishing circuit where they do the final six kilometres and cross the line before going out for a triangular lap on small, exposed roads where large fields are interspersed with small wooded sections for cover. The finishing straight is long and flat as they approach the small town of Bellegarde.
The Contenders: a repeat of yesterday’s stage is likely, although the conditions will be calmer. It’ll be windy but not wild. Dylan Groenewegen is good enough that he can win a second stage and his team showed they were collectively strong while Caleb Ewan was millimetres short of the win yesterday but he has a habit of coming close sometimes.
Among the rest Fabio Jakobsen, Sam Bennett and Arnaud Démare should be close and watch to see if Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish get in the mix this time, or not.
|Dylan Groenwegen, Caleb Ewan|
|Fabio Jakobsen, Arnaud Démare|
|Bennett, Kittel, Kristoff, Bonifazio|
Weather: sunshine and showers, a top temperature of 11°C and a tailwind for much of the day of 20km/h but this could gust to 40km/h and there are sections of road along the way and the finishing circuit to exploit.
TV: the finish is forecast for 4.30pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport. If not then cyclingfans and steephill.tv have schedules and streams.