Article submitted by twitter user CyclingBolar
The first stage is a 201km stage which should end up in a bunch sprint. But as you can see by the map, a good half of the stage is via the coast so if the wind is high, there could be chance for echelons. Looking at the weather forecast, the wind won’t be as strong today but the nervousness is going to be the worry. Being stage one, the nerves will be high. If there is not cross winds, I can see a crash or two with some key riders, whether it be sprinters or GC men caught up.
So we’ll look at the contenders for the stage.
Fernando Gaviria is in good form at the moment. If there are crosswinds and sprinters get dropped, it won’t be him because Quick-Step have a great team to control this stage. He comes in as favourite based on current form. The thing against him is his nerves. He has admitted he is feeling nervous ahead of this stage – that is a recipe for wrong decision making.
Dylan Groenwegen doesn’t have a long train, but he doesn’t need one. He’s probably been the form sprinter all year that is here in the race. If there is trouble with winds, I expect him and his team to be at the front. He is faster than Gaviria so if he gets in a good spot, he can take the win here.
Arnaud Demare also shouldn’t find trouble with this stage. His team is strong and is basically built to support him. He showed last year he can win a bunch sprint here. Whilst he is not as fast as some sprinters here, if he lands in the right spot, he is going to be hard to beat.
Andre Greipel has a team dedicated to him. He has won a couple of races this year and has looked good. I’m not sure if he can do it here though.
Mark Cavendish is the wildcard. When you write him off, he always seems to prove you wrong. A few years ago he wasn’t looking good and then bagged three stages. He has a team dedicated to him. He’s had a year riddled with injuries. If he’s at his best, he is the favourite. But, is he at his best? It might take a couple of stages for him to get his rhythm. I expect him to win a stage or two, but not sure it’s this one.
Marcel Kittel has had a shocking year. A lot of people think that he is gone. He has no confidence at the moment and just find the right positions even with a good lead out. He gets lost a lot and that is due to the lack of confidence. You will be a very brave man to back him to win. But, you never know. In this pressure situation, especially the first stage, his experience might come to the fore.
Peter Sagan definitely won’t get caught up in the crosswinds. He is not as fast as these pure sprinters, but again, if some are dropped and he is in a good spot, he can take advantage and take the win.
The other sprinters I won’t mention because I can’t see them winning the stage.
Odds are taken from Crownbet Australia
Instead of writing something separate for the outright bets, I will incorporate them into here.
STAGE 1 BETS
Sticking with the best leadouts and most experience on this opening stage as that should be the difference between winning and losing on a nervous stage.
Mark Cavendish @ $13 (Stake 1)
Mark Cavendish over Marcel Kittel @ $1.82 (Stake 8)
Arnaud Demare over Peter Sagan @ $2 (Stake 5)
As for the Overall Bets. More will be added during the race, but going for these ones now.
Adam Yates over Jakob Fuglsang @ $2.20 (Stake 5)
Arnaud Demare @ $15 (Stake 2)
Guillaume Martin @ $5.50 (Stake 2)
Gianni Moscon @ $151 (Stake 1)
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