Article submitted by twitter user @cyclingbolar 

Peter Sagan has dominated this jersey for years and looking at things, will probably win it again, so is there anyone out there that can stop him?

Peter Sagan

Age: 28
Nationality: Slovakian
Team: Bora Hansgrohe
Previous Winner: 5 (2012-2016)
Tour de France Stage Wins: 8
Odds: $1.45

After being kicked out of the race last year, Sagan has a point to prove this year. He could have won the jersey for a 6th consecutive time, and this year, this could be the 6th time he wins it. He won’t have it his own way, however.

Sagan has won this jersey by picking up maximum points at the intermediate sprints on the mountain stages. All but 2 mountain stages, the sprint points are before the major climbs, so other sprinters should be able to pick up points too. So he will need to go in break after break and contest stage finishes in the mountain/transitional stages.

So whilst that is not on his side this year, he does have something on his side – there’s no clear cut top sprinter here. Heading into previous years you could tell Kittel would pick up a bunch of stages, Cavendish would etc, but this year, it’s even across the board. Someone may not pick up a bag which means points will be shared around.

Fernando Gaviria 

Age: 23
Nationality: Colombian
Team: Quick Step Floors
Previous Winner: No
TDF Stage Wins: 0
Odds: $4.50

Gaviria is making his Tour de France debut, but that shouldn’t be held against him. In the Giro d’Italia last year he picked up 4 stage wins and the points classification and he is in solid form this year also.

He has 7 victories to his name this year and has a team to fully support him in the quest for stage wins. Whilst he believes he can win the jersey, going up against seasoned riders like Sagan is going to be tough, but if anyone can pick up a bag of stage wins and get a good accumulation of points it’s Gaviria.

Dylan Groenewegan 

Age: 25
Nationality: Dutch
Team: Lotto NL Jumbo
Previous Winner: No
TDF Stage Wins: 1
Odds: $9

Looking at the start list, Groenewegen has been the form sprinter. He has 9 victories and doesn’t look like slowing down. Whilst he doesn’t have a train to support him, he doesn’t need one. 2 riders leading him out is more than enough.

His only Tour de France stage win came on the Champs Elysees last year and he is definitely going to add to that this year. With the form he is in, it wouldn’t shock to see him pick up a minimum of 4 stage wins. Can he pick up enough points in the mountains and transitional stages – that is the question.

Michael Matthews

Age: 27
Nationality: Australian
Team: Sunweb
Previous Winner: 2017
TDF Stage Wins: 3
Odds: $11

The defending champion will find it hard to repeat this year. I will give a quick answer here and say no he won’t win unless a bunch of riders crash out. He has lacked the speed this year and won’t pick up enough points in the sprint stages and is looking at working for Dumoulin.

Marcel Kittel

Age: 30
Nationality: Germany
Team: Katusha
Previous Winner: No
TDF Stage Wins: 14
Odds: $15

You would be a fool to write off Kittel, and that is what I am doing based on the following evidence. Kittel has only won two races this year and he has struggled to find positions even with a lead out. He has lost wheels, he has looked lost and whilst he has the speed, he doesn’t have the confidence at the moment.

Yes, he could step up in a big race where experience matters, but Kittel needs a train around him and he only has three riders to lead him to the finish. I think we will see more of the same. Kittel getting lost. He may win a stage, but I don’t think he will, and he definitely won’t figure in the Green Jersey battle.

Arnaud Demare 

Age: 26
Nationality: French
Team: Groupama FDJ
Previous Winner: No
TDF Stage Wins: 1
Odds: $15

Demare was wearing the jersey last year after Sagan was disqualified and was a good shot at holding it all the way to Paris and then illness struck him down and he didn’t make the time cut on stage nine.

If Demare can have a full race without any illness or crashes, I think he can win this jersey. He is fast enough to win bunch sprints and then the early stages that suit punchy sprinters like Sagan and Gaviria, suits him as well. He also has an advantage over the other sprinters except Sagan on the cobbles.

Remember, Sagan has never won a full bunch sprint at the Tour. Demare has. Demare can win bunch sprints and can finish high or win stages that have a small incline at the end, or have a lumpy lead up. If Demare is strong enough in the final half of the race, he can win this jersey.

Demare will definitely be consistent on all sprint stages which will suit him well.

Mark Cavendish 

Age: 33
Nationality: British
Team: Dimension Data
Previous Winner: 2011
TDF Stage Wins: 30
Odds: $21

Mark Cavendish has had a difficult year with injuries, but he is now fit and looking to fire. Whilst it wasn’t a huge sprint field, he did finish 2nd behind sprinter of the year, Elia Viviani in the final stage of  the Adriatica Ionica Race. That would have given him confidence.

He has an entire squad that is going to work for him and has the best sprint train here. He could repeat 2016 where he picked up 4 stage wins and he is solid enough to be able to pick up points on the harder stages at the back end of the race when it matters, but I don’t think he will.

He should finish high up in the Green Jersey competition, but won’t win it.

Andre Greipel

Age: 35
Nationality: German
Team: Lotto Soudal
Previous Winner: No
TDF Stage Wins: 11
Odds: $34

Greipel has got a train and can win stages, but age is against him. He has 6 victories this year, but I can’t see him winning enough stages to be able to take this jersey. With his history of 11 stage wins, it would be wrong not to mention him. He won’t win the Green Jersey though.

Prediction

As mentioned above, I think Demare is going to win enough stages and be consistent enough and be able to pick up points in the harder stages to win this jersey and deny Sagan his 6th victory.

  1. Arnaud Demare
  2. Peter Sagan
  3. Mark Cavendish

 

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