Tour de France Tour de France 2020

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As for the stages. My take is favorites will want to get to stage 15 in good shape and GC position. Stage 15 will start to reveal, on who is and who is not a top GC candidate. A lot of things can still happen through stage 16 and 17. Stage 18 will likely evolve around defending the positions, riders not happy with the outcome making the last (desperate) attempts.

As for stage 2. Likely not much will happen in the end, but maybe one of the teams will try out an unorthodox approach.
 
Okay time to go through them all

Stage 1: For the initial hype about a tricky first stage, this isn't tricky. This still looks like a bunch sprint to me.
Stage 2: No clue honestly. Carnage on the Turini seems unlikely, though tactical attacks are certainly possible with two insanely stacked teams going there. Could be a win from a strong break, could be a sprint between GC men. I could absolutely do without one of the two finishing laps.
Stage 3: Bunch sprint I guess.
Stage 4: Sometimes a GT looks at another GT and says "we need a climb like that." The Tour needed their Montevergine di Mercogliano. Nothing huge, but beats any sprint stage.
Stage 5. Bunch sprint on gradient small enough it should barely matter. Maybe it slightly favors one sprinter over the other.
Stage 6. Tricky one to predict. Could see this going to the break if the right break goes away. It's not hard enough for real attacks, though the final climb might be easy enough to not fear getting countered. Could be another full blown led out uphill sprint
Stage 7. Second half of this stages dictates that this is a worthless flat stage
Stage 8. Yee old faithful. There's one thing they could do terribly and they manage to avoid Peyragudes. That said, pretty vanilla, nothing super hard, and attacks are unlikely to get big gaps once again. Another such stage where not getting dropped is much more important than attacking.
Stage 9. Very underwhelming. Not that big on the total climbing once again, though despite the flat to the finish, Marie Blanque is a vastly superior climb than the Peyresourde. That said, this is the end of the Pyrenees, and there still haven't been any stages to really take time mano a mano. Also a 2nd descent finish in a row.
Stage 10. This is either a worthless flat stage or echelons. An ITT here would've been nice.
Stage 11. Worthless flat stage
Stage 12. Reduced bunch sprint or breakaway.
Stage 13. Another short MTF. This one is steeper than the others, but put them together it's getting a bit much.
Stage 14. Late attack, reduced bunch sprint or break. Nothing great but at least it beats a purely flat stage. Really, really underhelming 5 stages.
Stage 15. Finally a big MTF. Don't really like the order of the climbs, and a descent finish after the first 2 climbs with GC before would've been amazing imo. Then to counterbalance I'd have preferred a biggish MTF on the 1st Pyrenees stage.
Stage 16. Probably the clearest breakaway stage? It's never actually hard enough to be tricky for the GC contenders.
Stage 17. Queen stage. With the hardest part of the stage all the way at the end. Might be hard enough to decide the entire race with one 5km attack. Strong dislike. I've been wanting to see this side of the Madeleine in the Tour forever, and would've preferred a lesser MTF to go with it.
Stage 18. Really well designed stage, even if the point to launch an attack seems rather obvious
Stage 19. Sprint or breakaway, whatever it's my fault if I don't have something better to do.
Stage 20. I've been wanting to see PdBF nuked a few years this does nothing but exacerbate that. With this Tour rate until now, the best thing woudl've been a 55km rolling ITT, but nah. Even the one ITT in the race is strangely benovelent to the climbers.
Stage 21. Let's just say I'm happy Roland Garros starts that day as well.

Lots of stages look really nice at face value, but I think this Tour gets a lot of subtleties very wrong, biggest ones being the weak Pyrenees stages and the lack of ITTs in the first 2 weeks. Probably still the best route since 2016 I guess.
I still think we will see something big here. Bales is too hard of a climb to be controlled only by Sivakov, Bennett and Kuss and for them to have to energy to control Peyresoude as well. Due to lack of doms I predict fireworks on the final climb.
 
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I think what gives extra interest to Stage 2 is that we’re getting an early, fairly difficult climbing stage in the weirdest race season since WWII. Yes, there are 3 weeks of racing beforehand but it still seems to me that there might be quite a bit of variability in which riders got their training and prep “right.” Obviously they want to peak for Week 3,
But it seems quite possible some riders will be more race-ready for Stage 2 than others.
 
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I hope the weird nature of this season leads to some favorites struggeling early and some others feeling like they have peaked early meaning they want to gain time in the first week. If that happens, the first week could be great, if it doesn't five more or less mountain stages all either going to the break or causing at least a bit of gc action is still waaaaaay better than the sort of rubbish we usually get in the first week of the tour.

On another note, what are the chances for crosswind on stage 5? If I remember correctly that valley can get quite windy and has led to echelons in the past. They cross it towards the end of the stage so I imagine this could spice things up?
 
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I see 3 classic, hard Alpine stages and a lot of decent other stages that could lead to some good racing and not too many flat stages. Sure the fear is everybody will wait until the Alps, but I think we will see lots of potential GC riders lose lots of time beforehand on some quite tricky stages. And if the Pyrenees are raced hard, those are still some hard climb. Then you have 3-4 other potentially dangerous stages with some quite hard finishes.

Lots depend on how Jumbo and Sky will approach the race, more so than ever almost. Valverde and Alaphilippe could have a field day the first 2 weeks.
 
I see 3 classic, hard Alpine stages and a lot of decent other stages that could lead to some good racing and not too many flat stages. Sure the fear is everybody will wait until the Alps, but I think we will see lots of potential GC riders lose lots of time beforehand on some quite tricky stages. And if the Pyrenees are raced hard, those are still some hard climb. Then you have 3-4 other potentially dangerous stages with some quite hard finishes.

Lots depend on how Jumbo and Sky will approach the race, more so than ever almost. Valverde and Alaphilippe could have a field day the first 2 weeks.
Last year had a smaller gap between how hard the Pyrenees and Alps were, a TT right between the Pyrenees, and it was all fixed with a single stage in the Alps which was a lot easier than the queen stage this time around.
 
There won't be any gap involved until stage 5. Stage 5 literally starts in a town named Gap. Joking aside, i took another look at stage 2 profile.

Strong teams will likely lack the ambition, to take yellow this early, too much work involved defending it. If any potential GC contender will go for it i am afraid that strong teams would initiate a counter attack and would succeed easily. Col de la Colmiane and Col de Turini will make GC contenders work, though. They should expose at least two things. Strength of internal hierarchy across different teams. Some of the GC contenders could start realizing for them it ain't happening this year. Stage win for a non GC contender is the likely outcome.
 
Okay time to go through them all

Stage 1: For the initial hype about a tricky first stage, this isn't tricky. This still looks like a bunch sprint to me.
Stage 2: No clue honestly. Carnage on the Turini seems unlikely, though tactical attacks are certainly possible with two insanely stacked teams going there. Could be a win from a strong break, could be a sprint between GC men. I could absolutely do without one of the two finishing laps.
Stage 3: Bunch sprint I guess.
Stage 4: Sometimes a GT looks at another GT and says "we need a climb like that." The Tour needed their Montevergine di Mercogliano. Nothing huge, but beats any sprint stage.
Stage 5. Bunch sprint on gradient small enough it should barely matter. Maybe it slightly favors one sprinter over the other.
Stage 6. Tricky one to predict. Could see this going to the break if the right break goes away. It's not hard enough for real attacks, though the final climb might be easy enough to not fear getting countered. Could be another full blown led out uphill sprint
Stage 7. Second half of this stages dictates that this is a worthless flat stage
Stage 8. Yee old faithful. There's one thing they could do terribly and they manage to avoid Peyragudes. That said, pretty vanilla, nothing super hard, and attacks are unlikely to get big gaps once again. Another such stage where not getting dropped is much more important than attacking.
Stage 9. Very underwhelming. Not that big on the total climbing once again, though despite the flat to the finish, Marie Blanque is a vastly superior climb than the Peyresourde. That said, this is the end of the Pyrenees, and there still haven't been any stages to really take time mano a mano. Also a 2nd descent finish in a row.
Stage 10. This is either a worthless flat stage or echelons. An ITT here would've been nice.
Stage 11. Worthless flat stage
Stage 12. Reduced bunch sprint or breakaway.
Stage 13. Another short MTF. This one is steeper than the others, but put them together it's getting a bit much.
Stage 14. Late attack, reduced bunch sprint or break. Nothing great but at least it beats a purely flat stage. Really, really underhelming 5 stages.
Stage 15. Finally a big MTF. Don't really like the order of the climbs, and a descent finish after the first 2 climbs with GC before would've been amazing imo. Then to counterbalance I'd have preferred a biggish MTF on the 1st Pyrenees stage.
Stage 16. Probably the clearest breakaway stage? It's never actually hard enough to be tricky for the GC contenders.
Stage 17. Queen stage. With the hardest part of the stage all the way at the end. Might be hard enough to decide the entire race with one 5km attack. Strong dislike. I've been wanting to see this side of the Madeleine in the Tour forever, and would've preferred a lesser MTF to go with it.
Stage 18. Really well designed stage, even if the point to launch an attack seems rather obvious
Stage 19. Sprint or breakaway, whatever it's my fault if I don't have something better to do.
Stage 20. I've been wanting to see PdBF nuked a few years this does nothing but exacerbate that. With this Tour rate until now, the best thing woudl've been a 55km rolling ITT, but nah. Even the one ITT in the race is strangely benovelent to the climbers.
Stage 21. Let's just say I'm happy Roland Garros starts that day as well.

Lots of stages look really nice at face value, but I think this Tour gets a lot of subtleties very wrong, biggest ones being the weak Pyrenees stages and the lack of ITTs in the first 2 weeks. Probably still the best route since 2016 I guess.
Nice walk-through. I am very sure the wind will be out to shout on stage 10, we will see if it costs anyone. In fact I fear that this might be the stage where Quintana loses some serious time for the first time. Even in 11 there might be some echelon action, so not necessarily a worthless flat stage... :D If there was a 50k flat ITT and I were Quintana I would just stay in Colombia :confused_old:
 
Okay time to go through them all

Stage 1: For the initial hype about a tricky first stage, this isn't tricky. This still looks like a bunch sprint to me.
Stage 2: No clue honestly. Carnage on the Turini seems unlikely, though tactical attacks are certainly possible with two insanely stacked teams going there. Could be a win from a strong break, could be a sprint between GC men. I could absolutely do without one of the two finishing laps.
Stage 3: Bunch sprint I guess.
Stage 4: Sometimes a GT looks at another GT and says "we need a climb like that." The Tour needed their Montevergine di Mercogliano. Nothing huge, but beats any sprint stage.
Stage 5. Bunch sprint on gradient small enough it should barely matter. Maybe it slightly favors one sprinter over the other.
Stage 6. Tricky one to predict. Could see this going to the break if the right break goes away. It's not hard enough for real attacks, though the final climb might be easy enough to not fear getting countered. Could be another full blown led out uphill sprint
Stage 7. Second half of this stages dictates that this is a worthless flat stage
Stage 8. Yee old faithful. There's one thing they could do terribly and they manage to avoid Peyragudes. That said, pretty vanilla, nothing super hard, and attacks are unlikely to get big gaps once again. Another such stage where not getting dropped is much more important than attacking.
Stage 9. Very underwhelming. Not that big on the total climbing once again, though despite the flat to the finish, Marie Blanque is a vastly superior climb than the Peyresourde. That said, this is the end of the Pyrenees, and there still haven't been any stages to really take time mano a mano. Also a 2nd descent finish in a row.
Stage 10. This is either a worthless flat stage or echelons. An ITT here would've been nice.
Stage 11. Worthless flat stage
Stage 12. Reduced bunch sprint or breakaway.
Stage 13. Another short MTF. This one is steeper than the others, but put them together it's getting a bit much.
Stage 14. Late attack, reduced bunch sprint or break. Nothing great but at least it beats a purely flat stage. Really, really underhelming 5 stages.
Stage 15. Finally a big MTF. Don't really like the order of the climbs, and a descent finish after the first 2 climbs with GC before would've been amazing imo. Then to counterbalance I'd have preferred a biggish MTF on the 1st Pyrenees stage.
Stage 16. Probably the clearest breakaway stage? It's never actually hard enough to be tricky for the GC contenders.
Stage 17. Queen stage. With the hardest part of the stage all the way at the end. Might be hard enough to decide the entire race with one 5km attack. Strong dislike. I've been wanting to see this side of the Madeleine in the Tour forever, and would've preferred a lesser MTF to go with it.
Stage 18. Really well designed stage, even if the point to launch an attack seems rather obvious
Stage 19. Sprint or breakaway, whatever it's my fault if I don't have something better to do.
Stage 20. I've been wanting to see PdBF nuked a few years this does nothing but exacerbate that. With this Tour rate until now, the best thing woudl've been a 55km rolling ITT, but nah. Even the one ITT in the race is strangely benovelent to the climbers.
Stage 21. Let's just say I'm happy Roland Garros starts that day as well.

Lots of stages look really nice at face value, but I think this Tour gets a lot of subtleties very wrong, biggest ones being the weak Pyrenees stages and the lack of ITTs in the first 2 weeks. Probably still the best route since 2016 I guess.
Of course there's something wrong with every stage... :rolleyes:
 
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Somewhat heartening pro team sighting on Friday: FdJ reconnoitering the climb from Beaufort to Les Saisies on Stage 18. I gave them a hearty Allez Thibaut as we drove by. On a sadder note: We planned our vacation in the area so we could see the stage in July...oh well.

That stage should be full of fireworks: The double punch of Cormet de Roselend and Les Saisies with no flat between them should thin the herd considerably, then there's still Aravis and Glieres to go,,,
 
Nice walk-through. I am very sure the wind will be out to shout on stage 10, we will see if it costs anyone. In fact I fear that this might be the stage where Quintana loses some serious time for the first time. Even in 11 there might be some echelon action, so not necessarily a worthless flat stage... :D If there was a 50k flat ITT and I were Quintana I would just stay in Colombia :confused_old:
Quintana has also had some very impressive echelon performances including Paris-Nice this year so it’s not a foregone conclusion that wind will hurt him.
 
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When you analyse the stages one should also have in mind that we are living in corona times.
We all hope that it will not happen, but there will always be the possibility that the tour will aborted in the middle of the race like in Paris Nice or the UAE tour.
So the strategy to wait with your action until stage 15 could be a good strategy in a normal year, but to wait with your action for a stage which potentially could not take place anymore is not the best strategy.. For this reason I hope that we already see a lot of action during the first stages.
 
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Stage 2 can be key if any of the contenders come unprepared or behind peak. The bad news is that it could be everyone that is unprepared.
Yeah, looking more and more at those 2 huge climbs on stage 2 (although they are a little annoyingly a long way from the finish), I think that any GC contender already feeling in good form would be crazy not to send his team to the front to do some work, and test the waters. There may well be 20-30 riders in contention to win this stage towards the finish, but I feel like someone like Froome or Dumoulin could lose five minutes on this stage if they come into the race a little underdone.

Given that the true leading team hasn't been established yet, it is also a chance for some second tier GC riders to get off the front early and gain time. Because maybe Jumbo and Ineos will look at each other, asking the other to do the work.

As for the other stages, the Pyrenees are disappointing, and you all know how I feel about ITT's. But I really like stage 13. Not necessarily just about the final climb; this stage has a lot of semi serious climbing throughout, could be very entertaining for the stage victory and for the GC. And the alps are pretty good this year, obviously.
 
Yeah, looking more and more at those 2 huge climbs on stage 2 (although they are a little annoyingly a long way from the finish), I think that any GC contender already feeling in good form would be crazy not to send his team to the front to do some work, and test the waters. There may well be 20-30 riders in contention to win this stage towards the finish, but I feel like someone like Froome or Dumoulin could lose five minutes on this stage if they come into the race a little underdone.

Given that the true leading team hasn't been established yet, it is also a chance for some second tier GC riders to get off the front early and gain time. Because maybe Jumbo and Ineos will look at each other, asking the other to do the work.

As for the other stages, the Pyrenees are disappointing, and you all know how I feel about ITT's. But I really like stage 13. Not necessarily just about the final climb; this stage has a lot of semi serious climbing throughout, could be very entertaining for the stage victory and for the GC. And the alps are pretty good this year, obviously.
Generally coming into a race undercooked doesn't mean getting dropped by 20-30 dudes, especially on longer climbs.

I think generally when someone's that bad on day 2 of a GT they just missed their peak entirely and were never gonna compete for GC anyway
 
Something like a finish on top of Col de Turini, that would make stage 2 more attractive to GC contenders. As that would likely outweigh the burden of defending the yellow this early. And somebody for sure would made the move, the rest would need to follow.

P.S. As for the corona, it will be a race inside a race, but in my opinion GC contenders won't focus on that too much. That aspect of the race is out of their hands (and legs) and depending on that won't get you far.
 
Generally coming into a race undercooked doesn't mean getting dropped by 20-30 dudes, especially on longer climbs.

I think generally when someone's that bad on day 2 of a GT they just missed their peak entirely and were never gonna compete for GC anyway
What about what happened to Contador then on stage 3 of the 2017 Vuelta? He clearly had good form later in the race, but didn't quite have it three days in. I think something like this can happen on stage 2 of this Tour, and take an otherwise GC contender, out of contending.
 

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