2014 has seen Contador return to winning ways and his victories in Tirreno-Adriatico and Pais Vasco sent a clear message to his opponents that this year it would not be easy to shine in Paris. El Pistolero is a born winner, even sacrificing a podium place last year in a bid to crack Froome. He didn’t have the legs then, but that looks to have changed now. Is desperate to win time after losing time in the cobbled stage to Nibali.
Tejay van Garderen
After last year’s poor showing, Van Garderen starts the Tour a little under-rated. This should suit him perfectly, all the pressure will be on the main favourites. Anyone paying attention however will know that Tejay has been climbing comfortably with the big names to date in 2014, not to mention riding away from everyone to take a stage in Catalunya. Could he do something similar on La Planche des Belles Filles?
Purito came to France to take the polka dot jersey. A quick way to do so is by winning a lot of top finishes this Tour. Why not start at La Planche des Belles Filles, Joaquim, the sheer steepness of the climb suits you like a glove.
The logic is, if you have it in you to win on a stage as hyped as the double ascent of Alpe d’Huez last year, then surely you can handle the pressure of French expectation on Bastille Day. Of all the French riders in the peloton, Riblon seems most suited to the task. On a day where a large breakaway could build a decent gap, it would not be a major surprise if an escape lasted until the finish. In such a situation, Riblon would be one of the strongest climbers and favourite to prevail.
Thomas Voeckler (image)
Perhaps Voeckler’s star is fading somewhat after some amazing Tours that saw plenty of stage wins, a long stint in yeloow and even taking polka-dots to Paris. 2013 was quiet but the Europcar rider will look to bounce back this year. A breakaway specialist, Voeckler has a knack of picking the right ones and winning from them. Could he achieve such a feat today?
Tour de France 2014 stage 10: Images and more!
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Petit Ballon at strava.com
La Planche des belles Filles at bikemap.net
La Planche des Belles Filles at strava.com