Coral’s Tour de France first week preview
Miles Crosby | July 10, 2015
The Tour de France starts on Saturday, July 4th, the beginning of a 2,087 mile journey for the 198 riders who will take part. Its 21 stages cover a wide variety of terrain and will challenge the cyclists in every way imaginable. Here, Coral take a look at each of the thrilling days of racing in the first week.
The first stage of the Tour is the only individual time trial of the race and is short at only nine miles. Despite this, racing will be hard as the winner of the stage will get to wear the first yellow jersey of 2015, and will probably hold it for at least another few days. German powerhouse Tony ‘the Panzer’ Martin, has dominated the time trial discipline in recent years and it’s no surprise that he’s the even-money favourite for the stage. For more profitable odds, though, look to Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, backed by many of his contemporaries, at 11/4, or former multi world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara at 7/1.
This stage probably won’t be the most exciting until the finish (although that could change if the winds are high), where the sprinters will have their first race to the line in this year’s Tour. Expect Peter Sagan, the favourite for the green jersey at 5/6, to feature, but Britain’s Mark Cavendish will be hungry for the first sprint win of the race.
The third stage finishes on the infamous Mur de Huy climb, famed as the finish of the brutal Fleche Wallonne one-day race. Short and steep, the yellow jersey favourites are unlikely to feature; instead, the climb will be a battle ground for one-day specialists, and will end in a thrilling uphill sprint to the line.
The Tour de France will not be won on the cobbled roads of stage four, but it could be lost. Last year, Chris Froome, this year’s favourite to win overall at 15/8, had to abandon the race after crashing on the cobbles and many riders will be fearing the same could happen to them. This stage will be another for the one-day riders, with Fabian Cancellara likely to be in the mix, but look out for British Olympic Gold medallist Geraint Thomas who does well on these sort of roads.
Stages five, six, and seven
After a varied first four days, the Tour settles down a bit as the race heads into three stages for the sprinters. The battle for the yellow jersey will be put on hold, but it will be a crucial few days for the green jersey. Cavendish, at 4/1 for the overall sprinters’ classification, and Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (10/3) will both be hunting stage wins and sprinters’ points. They will be challenged all the way by Sagan, however, and the slightly uphill finish of stage six may favour him over pure sprinters like Kristoff and Cavendish.