Groenewegen can hit back with sprinters expected to flex muscles
BMC looking tough
Live on Eurosport & ITV4
Starts 12.05pm Tuesday
Tour second favourite Richie Porte’s BMC team put on a show of strength with victory in the team time trial on Monday, although none of the leading contenders suffered a knockout blow as the time gaps were smaller than many had expected.
BMC’s win by four seconds from Team Sky put Greg Van Avermaet in the yellow jersey and teammate Tejay Van Garderen in second place on the same time. The top five teams were separated by just 11 seconds, with Quick-Step Floors third, Adam Yates’s Mitchelton-Scott fourth and Tom Dumoulin’s Team Sunweb fifth.
Geraint Thomas (Sky) is best-placed of the leading GC contenders overall in third (+0.03) with Dumoulin seventh (+0.11), Porte 14th (+0.51), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 16th (+0.53), Mikel Landa (Movistar) 17th (+0.53), 7-4 race favourite Chris Froome (Sky) 18th (+0.55), Yates 20th (+1.00), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 22nd (+1.06), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 25th (+1.15) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), the big loser of the opening days, down in 59th at 2.08.
Stage four looks one of the best opportunities for the pure sprinters on this year’s route, although timing will be critical as the finish is slightly uphill and the riders could be going into a headwind.
The opening stage is the only one so far contested by all the principal sprinters and it seemed to establish an early pecking order with Fernando Gaviria, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel in the first three.
Dylan Groenewegen, who was sixth, is the sprinter most likely to cause a shake-up and he remains a big threat. At the prices he is the pick as he has a high win strike-rate and there is a danger Gaviria will be put in front too early by his lead-out train, leaving him vulnerable to a late finisher.
1pt 6-1 Betfred
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