Analyzing the first week of the tour de france 2015

Jul 29, 2012
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I had some free time so decided to take a better look at the first week of the tour.

I remember hitch’s words about the first week of the giro. One of the hardest first weeks in the giro in a very long time according to him. The first week of the giro was great, not that it means that a hard first week in a GT guarantees a spectacle though. But after looking carefully at the first week of the tour it’s one of the most dangerous ones in recent history. Especially the first 4 days, it’ll take you a while to find a harder beginning in the tour than this one (tour 2010 i’d say, but i think this one will create bigger differences, i’ll explain why later on). Let’s take a look at the first week of the tour.

Stage 1 Utrecht-Utrecht, 13.8km ITT
Yes the only one ITT, we should call ourselves lucky though because apperently there were plans to make it even shorter. It’s a short one, but not one to be underestimated, you can easily lose 30 sec here on a bad day, maybe even more. Remember Andy’s disaster beginning in the tour of 2010? and that ITT was 5 km shorter! The hardest 1st day since the tour 2009. Another great example, that 15.5 km ITT in monaco. Menchov wasn’t ready and Spartacus caught him (started 1:30min behind him iirc). When we look back at this tour, this stage might have been the decisive one in determining the GC.



Stage 2 Utrecht-Zeeland, 166 km
I bet all the dutchies are already dreaming off this stage. Last 40km of the stage stage will be around the sea. Echelons guaranteed? Probably, even if this doesn’t happen, the peloton will be nervous. All the leaders will have to be on the front during the entire stage. Extremely nervous stage, you don’t wanna have a flat in the last 40 km or your tour is prob over (GC).



 
Jul 29, 2012
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Stage 3 Antwerpen-Hoei, 159.5 km
In the last editions of the tour we had in the first stages always a hilly stage. And some may consider that this isn’t as hard as the other ones we had in the previous years. Might be true but differences will be made for sure since it’s an uphill finish, and not just a regular one, the mur. A waiting game like in the last 2 years won’t happen here, there’s no flat part afterwards where the favorites will look at each other. A gap of 20 sec can be easily made. Furthermore there are also boni’s to earn (10-6-4, only for the first week btw). After 3 days a gap of a minute between some of the relevant GC riders isn’t a fantasy, it’s reality.





Stage 4 Seraing-Cambrai, 223.5 km
A very long stage for tour standards these days. Way longer than the cobbles stage we had last year. And the amount of cobbles that the riders have to face is around the same amount of last year. Some say though that this year it’ll be easier cobbles. I doubt it’ll be really that big of a difference though, especially when it rains again, then it don’t matter. In the last 50 km they’ll have to face 11.5km of cobbles (between 175km and 198km there’s almost 10km of cobbles.) Once again you don’t wanna have a flat tire here. Positioning is crucial here so expect a big battle before all the cobbles sections. The likes of Boonen used to say that this is the hardest part of cobbles classics: the battle to be the first to start on the sections.



Definitely one of the most challenging 4 days the tour has presented in a long time. Before you know it you can already be a few min behind.
 
Jul 29, 2012
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Stage 5, Arras-Amiens 189.5 km
The first easy flat stage, moving on.



Stage 6, Abbeville-Le Havre, 191.5 km.
This is the tour of the short uphill finishes, i count 5 on it. Flat stage until the end with a hill of 850m at 7% that ends at 500m of the finish. The tour organizers compare the hill with the cauberg. Once again a stage where GC riders have to be on their guard. Misposition yourself and you can lose 10 sec, i see it as unlikely though.




Stage 7, Livarot-Fougéres, 190.6 km.
Flat stage moving on.

 
Jul 29, 2012
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Stage 8, Rennes-Mur de Bretagne, 181.5 km.
It must be very annoying for the GC riders, all these hills at the end. Positioning is once again important and of course being explosive. If you screw up, you’ll definitely lose a handful of seconds like what happened with andy in the tour of 2011.



 
Jul 29, 2012
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Stage 9, Vannes-Plumelec, 28 km TTT.
A very important stage for GC. I don’t like it since i hate TTT but it’s here so we’ll have to deal with it. First of all on stage 9!!!! Stage 9 in a tour where crashes are bound to happen. With some bad luck some teams might start this TTT with 7,8 guys. I’m not in a position to judge how big of a difference that can produce for the results of TTT, i’ve no clue really but it must be big i can imagine. Luckely the TTT isn’t that long but it’s hard, really hard. Go too fast in the beginning of it and you’ll be screwed over at the end especially cause it ends on a hill of 1.7km at 6.2%. 1-1.30 minutes can be easily lost here. I pety the 5th guy on the team when only 5 guys are left, you don’t wanna be that guy.





Now of course there’s no big MTF in the first week (comes right after the restday), but i believe that the differences will be bigger than in a “normal week” with a MTF. Way bigger. Take the tour of 2010 as an example, it had 2 MTF in the first week (one very meh one, and one pretty good one) but no big differences were made between the big guns. Of course it’s cause astana was bluffing on the stage andy won and everyone was looking at contador. But imo the differences will be definitely made in this first week of the tour, the riders can’t take it easy, they’ve to be there at the cobbles, at the echelons, at the uphill finishes. Explosiveness will be rewarded, which will force the explosive guys like purito and piti to really try and make a difference. Furthermore there’s boni in the first week which will encourage them even more. It’s hard to bluff or decide to not do anything like you see often in the first MTF of the tour (although recent history in the tour proved they now race really hard on the first MTF but that’s cause one guy was superior to the rest, i don’t think that will happen in this tour). Add in a cobble stage and a very hard TTT.

This is a tour that doesn’t have a long ITT or a very very hard MTF, but it might be one of the worst editions for GC riders. If you look at the profiles there are maybe 4,5 easy flat stages. The rest is all dangerous, you’ll have to be on your guard the whole time. I still think they *** up with no long ITT and a very hard MTF, but complaining about it won’t help. I like the first week, way better than what we normally get.

Was kinda fun to do this, luckely it didn't take that long :)
 
Miburo said:
...it’ll take you a while to find a harder beginning in the tour than this one (tour 2010 i’d say, but i think this one will create bigger differences, i’ll explain why later on)...
2014? OK, it took 5 stages before the cobbles last year, but still...
The first half of the 2014 TDF was about the best designed first half of any GT since... well, ever.
 
Nice first week indeed. Will be crazy nervous and if the big 4 survive this first 9 stages we will be extremely lucky.

A quick survey among the people here for the stage to Le Havre. Which riders can we expect in the top 10 there?
Pure sprinters won't survive it, pretty sure about it. What about Kristoff or Degenkolb though?
 
rghysens said:
Miburo said:
...it’ll take you a while to find a harder beginning in the tour than this one (tour 2010 i’d say, but i think this one will create bigger differences, i’ll explain why later on)...
2014? OK, it took 5 stages before the cobbles last year, but still...
The first half of the 2014 TDF was about the best designed first half of any GT since... well, ever.
First week last year was good as well indeed.
 
Sep 9, 2009
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Kwibus said:
Nice first week indeed. Will be crazy nervous and if the big 4 survive this first 9 stages we will be extremely lucky.

A quick survey among the people here for the stage to Le Havre. Which riders can we expect in the top 10 there?
Pure sprinters won't survive it, pretty sure about it. What about Kristoff or Degenkolb though?
One of those 2, or a pure sprinter. 7% for that short approached at 60kph will be difficult but not impossible for sprinters - certainly more likely than a puncheur making a meaningful gap.
 
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Waterloo Sunrise said:
Kwibus said:
Nice first week indeed. Will be crazy nervous and if the big 4 survive this first 9 stages we will be extremely lucky.

A quick survey among the people here for the stage to Le Havre. Which riders can we expect in the top 10 there?
Pure sprinters won't survive it, pretty sure about it. What about Kristoff or Degenkolb though?
One of those 2, or a pure sprinter. 7% for that short approached at 60kph will be difficult but not impossible for sprinters - certainly more likely than a puncheur making a meaningful gap.
The last corner before the climb looks rather sweeping, but no way on earth it is going to be taken at 60 kph.

Edit: or not and I am misreading the relief map.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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I wouldn't underestimate the sprinters in the Le Havre stage, there are a few that could do well oreven win that stage.
 
rghysens said:
Miburo said:
...it’ll take you a while to find a harder beginning in the tour than this one (tour 2010 i’d say, but i think this one will create bigger differences, i’ll explain why later on)...
2014? OK, it took 5 stages before the cobbles last year, but still...
The first half of the 2014 TDF was about the best designed first half of any GT since... well, ever.
Last years tour start was also difficult but very different. There were the 3 vosges stages, the difficult stage in britain and the cobble stage but the other 4 stages very pretty boring and the second vosges stage as well as the hilly british stage were maybe difficult but not decisive for gc. However in this tour only two stage don't really have the potential to create time gaps (Le Havre also can easily create time gaps of over 10 seconds when someone is bad positioned). The difficulty is that the riders don't get any pauses, they have to work hard on every day knowing that they must not waste too much energy because they need something left for the TTT. It sounds funny but easy uphill finishes guarantee time gaps because riders like valverde or purito always try to win the stage while mtf´s often don't cause any gaps because the favorites only watch each other. Maybe the word "difficult" was the false one, I think "decisive" is the better word because big time gaps are absolutely guaranteed in these first nine stages.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Gigs_98 said:
Mayomaniac said:
I wouldn't underestimate the sprinters in the Le Havre stage, there are a few that could do well oreven win that stage.
I don't think so. The pure sprinters also don't really have a chance in the AGR and the comparison with the cauberg is pretty good
But AGR is a way harder race, this stage only has the final climb, the rest is pretty easy.
 
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Mayomaniac said:
Gigs_98 said:
Mayomaniac said:
I wouldn't underestimate the sprinters in the Le Havre stage, there are a few that could do well oreven win that stage.
I don't think so. The pure sprinters also don't really have a chance in the AGR and the comparison with the cauberg is pretty good
But AGR is a way harder race, this stage only has the final climb, the rest is pretty easy.
It might be close but I still think a classic specialist will win.
 

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