Pre Tour de France-thread

Not even June yet, but its never to soon to speculate on selections, shape, tactics etc. on the biggest bike race that lets us down year after year, yet we are coming crawling back. Soon Dauphine will kick off, then Suisse, NCs and we are suddenly in July.

I can't remember the last time that all of the best riders are scheduled to participate. Only some of the 2nd tier Giro GC-contenders arent riding (Chaves, Lopez, Pozzo etc.) along with a few sprinters that doesnt really change anything. All of the best puncheurs will be there as well. Sky is probably throwing a curveball and bringing Egan, Movistar will also bring Soler, both of whom could prove vital for the race.

The route looks fine, too much flat in the start, but it is what it is. A lot better than last year at least. The route can be found here:
https://www.la-flamme-rouge.eu/road-races/tdf-2018-official-profiles-t7118.html

For a bit of hype of Romme and Colombiere, the first stage in the Alps:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k-8XNcJsDk

Always an interesting time of the year. Lets see how Nibz, Zakarin, Thomaas, Yates, Martin etc. will fare in Dauphine, but the spotligt will be in Suisse this year with Porte, Movistar x3 and Sagan as the biggests stars.

Can Froome make the double? Is Movistar imploding? Will Porte finally break through? Is Nibali over the hill? Will UAE continue their horrible season? And can Bernal actually play a role already now? Many questions that will be answered and I look forward to the race and everything that follows as usual.

We could try to gather the biggest teams in the OP.

Sky: Froome, Poels, Thomas, Kwito, Moscon
Movistar: Valv, Quintana, Landa
Bahrain: Nibali, Ion, Gorka, Pozzo
BMC: Porte, TJ, GVA, Caruso
Ag2R: Bardet, Frank, Latour, Naesen
QS: Gaviria, Jungels, Alaphippe
 
Astana will most probably be:

Fuglsang, Fraile, Gatto, Hansen, Valgren, Cort......

.....and then either a couple of kazak riders, or if they truly believe in Fuglsang, any two of Cataldo, Kangert, Bilbao, Sanzhez and Hirt.
 
Re:

Nirvana said:
Pozzovivo will be at the Tour as well, obviously in support of Nibali.
Ah ok. Pellizotti will probably as well.

Broccolidwarf said:
Astana will most probably be:

Fuglsang, Fraile, Gatto, Hansen, Valgren, Cort......

.....and then either a couple of kazak riders, or if they truly believe in Fuglsang, any two of Cataldo, Kangert, Bilbao, Sanzhez and Hirt.
Yup, looks like 4 danes. Bilbao isn't riding, Kangert probably will if he recovers.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Kangert's only problem was probably a fever, Cataldo will be with Fuglsang.
My guess would be Fuglsang, Hansen, Valgren, Cort, Cataldo, Kangert and 2 big engines like Gruzdev and Grivko, strong support for the cobbles, the TTT and the flat stages, limited support for the high mountains.
Otherwise you could pick Kozhatayev as an additional climbing domestiqe, if he rides a good Dauphine, he isn't bad at all.
Edit: I forgot about Omar, I guess he'll get a spot on the team.
 
Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
Nirvana said:
Pozzovivo will be at the Tour as well, obviously in support of Nibali.
Ah ok. Pellizotti will probably as well.
Pellizotti is a given, he's Nibali lieutenant and he's with him everywhere.
If he could hit a form like last year when he was able to finish fifth on the Agliru he will probably be his last man considering that Pozzovivo won't be at his best after the Giro and the Izagirre bros I guess will have a free role.
 
Re: Re:

Nirvana said:
Valv.Piti said:
Nirvana said:
Pozzovivo will be at the Tour as well, obviously in support of Nibali.
Ah ok. Pellizotti will probably as well.
Pellizotti is a given, he's Nibali lieutenant and he's with him everywhere.
If he could hit a form like last year when he was able to finish fifth on the Agliru he will probably be his last man considering that Pozzovivo won't be at his best after the Giro and the Izagirre bros I guess will have a free role.
No way the Izagirre bros have a free role. They are nowhere near good enough for that in a team with one of the main favorites who needs every helper he gets. They will be domestiques for Nibali too which makes his mountain train scarily good. His only problem is that all these guys have a very high level but nobody is a Wout Poels or Geraint Thomas who on their best days can be with Froome when the group is reduced to five or less.
 
Aug 20, 2017
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The Dark Knight will return.
His destiny is to give us, his fans, some entertainment and fun and drive his haters mad and crazy.
 
Re:

Mayomaniac said:
Kangert's only problem was probably a fever, Cataldo will be with Fuglsang.
My guess would be Fuglsang, Hansen, Valgren, Cort, Cataldo, Kangert and 2 big engines like Gruzdev and Grivko, strong support for the cobbles, the TTT and the flat stages, limited support for the high mountains.
Otherwise you could pick Kozhatayev as an additional climbing domestiqe, if he rides a good Dauphine, he isn't bad at all.
Edit: I forgot about Omar, I guess he'll get a spot on the team.
The 4 danes are a given I think, Hansen, Valgren and Cort will all ride their socks off, for a countryman captain, especially one as popular internally in the team as Fuglsang.... and not least because they know, a good TdF, will secure them a spot for the World Championships in the fall.

I think we will see both Valgren and Cort significantly slimmer, than ever before, when the tour starts.

I think Fraile is a given too - he has been Fuglsangs go to guy in the mountains all spring - no doubt he will want him along.

That leaves 3.

Kangert will ride, unless the team are putting him up for captain in the Vuelta. The tour wasn't the plan, but with him quitting the giro before it got hard for real, he is poised for the Tour... and a good back up, if Fuglsang crashes out (as per usual ;) ).

That leaves 2.

If you are certain about Cataldo, I'll believe you - I must admit, I don't know enough about where he is at in the team.... he seems to have faded the last couple of years, from riding very promising GTs.

That leaves just one 1 spot really, which is anybodys guess..... especially because both Kangert and Cataldo can ride cobbles and tempo.
 
Re: Re:

Gigs_98 said:
Nirvana said:
Valv.Piti said:
Nirvana said:
Pozzovivo will be at the Tour as well, obviously in support of Nibali.
Ah ok. Pellizotti will probably as well.
Pellizotti is a given, he's Nibali lieutenant and he's with him everywhere.
If he could hit a form like last year when he was able to finish fifth on the Agliru he will probably be his last man considering that Pozzovivo won't be at his best after the Giro and the Izagirre bros I guess will have a free role.
No way the Izagirre bros have a free role. They are nowhere near good enough for that in a team with one of the main favorites who needs every helper he gets. They will be domestiques for Nibali too which makes his mountain train scarily good. His only problem is that all these guys have a very high level but nobody is a Wout Poels or Geraint Thomas who on their best days can be with Froome when the group is reduced to five or less.
I remember an interview for Diario Vasco a couple of months ago where they said that at the Tour Nibali will be GC leader and them will go for stages whereas at the Vuelta will be the opposite.
Maybe they could help him in some occasion if needed but I highly doubt will be full domestiques, that will be the role of Pozzovivo and Pellizotti in the mountains.
 
Bahrain actually could be a scarier and stronger team that Movistar because even with the Izagirre brothers going for stages, they'll still be all in on Nibali willing GC. Where with Movistar you have at least 2 riders who have no intention at all on working for anyone else and they both think they can win it. Then you add in Valverde who is the most consistent rider in the peloton and who won't put himself into the red and you have an interesting team, but not necessarily a strong team.
 
No doubt that I will cheer for Nibali or Bardet to win this. The former took full advantage of a cobbled stage in '14, he will be the smartest rider on the road. Romain has a question mark attached to him, the ITT where he can lose a ton of time. They are my chouchous.

Like Pozzo at Il Giro, I have a rider that I hope will fare well: Zakarin.

I hope that Tibopino rests and goes all-out at La Vuelta, and that GFC (or whatever it is now) gets a couple of wins, including Demare getting a win. Or two.

The continuing story of Nacer is a loser will entertain.

Movistar may be the biggest plot, managing egos, but so much talent. If they have three riders in the top-6 in Lourdes, with good tactics, bingo! Out of the three, the Basque is my favorite by not just one, but two miles.

Speaking about Lourdes, it's where miracles happen so the dark knight can't be discounted. I won't evaluate the chances of a rider who shouldn't have been at Il Giro, shouldn't be at the TdF, Sorry.

France is what it is with regards to geography, this TdF design isn't that bad. I hope we'll have fun and that cycling wins it.
 
I hate to be the grumpy one, but it's so depressing for the season to offer so much during the classics and Giro, and then ride full steam into the brick wall of perennial disappointment that is the tdf.

I've learned that the apparent centerpiece and highlight of the season is actually the best time to have a break. Do some altitude training, taper off, prepare for the Autumn classics and Worlds......
 
Would be nice to have another crazy race like the Giro. The sprint stages will be a lot better of course. Quintana and co have no excuses this time. If Froome starts and they can't beat him with the Giro in his legs they will have to wait for the age effects to work their magic. Nibali and Porte should be hungrier than most for different reasons while Quintana has a point to prove at least. Bardet with his TT is up against it but another podium would be no surprise. The cobbles stage will be just as important as the one in 2014 or has the potential to be. But Bardet will have to be super good in the mountains to have any hope.
 
Re: Re:

Nirvana said:
Gigs_98 said:
Nirvana said:
Valv.Piti said:
Nirvana said:
Pozzovivo will be at the Tour as well, obviously in support of Nibali.
Ah ok. Pellizotti will probably as well.
Pellizotti is a given, he's Nibali lieutenant and he's with him everywhere.
If he could hit a form like last year when he was able to finish fifth on the Agliru he will probably be his last man considering that Pozzovivo won't be at his best after the Giro and the Izagirre bros I guess will have a free role.
No way the Izagirre bros have a free role. They are nowhere near good enough for that in a team with one of the main favorites who needs every helper he gets. They will be domestiques for Nibali too which makes his mountain train scarily good. His only problem is that all these guys have a very high level but nobody is a Wout Poels or Geraint Thomas who on their best days can be with Froome when the group is reduced to five or less.
I remember an interview for Diario Vasco a couple of months ago where they said that at the Tour Nibali will be GC leader and them will go for stages whereas at the Vuelta will be the opposite.
Maybe they could help him in some occasion if needed but I highly doubt will be full domestiques, that will be the role of Pozzovivo and Pellizotti in the mountains.
If someone really said that it was media nonsense. You can't just go to the tour as one of the top favorites while basically only having a six men team. Meanwhile it wouldn't surprise me if Nibali has a free role at the vuelta. After all the two izagirres are 29 and a 30 year old whose best gc placements in a gt have been 27th and 28th.
 
Sep 10, 2017
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So what about Bernal? I swear I have seen the article last week by Marca most likely saying that he is riding the Tour.

And what about Dumoulin?

Vincenzo Nibali to win this bike race
 

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