Tour de France 2014 Favourites stage 17 - Joaquim Rodríguez to show who’s boss?
Wednesday July 23rd, 2014 – A short ride with mountains can often result in a fantastic spectacle with attacking galore. Just 124.5 kilometres today from Saint-Gaudens to Soulan Pla d’Adet and it's climbing galore. The terrain suits Contador and his attacking style of racing perfectly. (Slideshow route/profile)
We should see two races today, one a battle from a large breakaway group who will be fighting the peloton and each other in a bid to join the likes of Joop Zoetemelk, Raymond Poulidor and Lucien Van Impe, all once victorious at Soulan Pla d’Adet. The peloton itself should see a GC battle, likely coming into play on the final of the four climbs and we figure the breakaway will be swept up somewhere on the last mountain.
After his unfortunate crash in the Giro, Purito will start the Tour de France after all. The Spanish climber is eyeing up stage wins and the GC is no goal, making him a favourite in practically all mountain stages. We are in the last week and the GC should be well out of his reach by now, making him a prime suspect to go on the attack. He tends to get stronger in third week, just see last year’s Tour as an example, when he came from nowhere to finish on the podium.
The 30-Year old Russian is in good spirits. He soloed to victory in the Dauphiné and said afterwards the win didn’t mean anything to him, since there is only one race he’s interested in: the Tour de France. Trofimov will be trying hard to live up to the expectation he’s created for himself.
Made a GC name for himself in the recent Giro d’Italia after taking big stages in the Tours of 2011 Tour (Alpe d’Huez) and 2012 (La Toussuire/Les Sybelles). Finishing fourth in Italy, the 27-year old French rider had obviously a hard time keeping a good overall position in his home race. Stage wins are more likely and Rolland is certainly not afraid to attack, although sometimes his timing can be off as was seen in numerous stages in the Giro.
Riblon, Pinot, Voeckler, Rolland – The French have some breakaway specialists in the hills. 23-Year old climber Romain Bardet could definitely be the next star. Has been in good form in 2014, starting with winning the young riders classification in the Tour of Oman and finished fifth in the Criterium du Dauphiné. To really shine today he has to outperform his opponents since he is fourth in the GC…
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