The route of the Tour de France’s 1st stage has got written bunch sprint all over it. Probably, echelons could ruin the party, but that’s basically the only thing that could stand in the way of fast finishers showdown. The course is extremely flat – the first 123 kilometres run along the coast, the last 66 kilometres turn inland.
Pocketing five victories, Marcel Kittel was in a class of his own in last year’s Tour de France. Dylan Groenewegen (on Champs-Élysées, when Kittel already pulled out) and Arnaud Démare (after a chaotic and crash marked finale) took the other two sprints.
Kittel’s move to Katusha started to pay off quite late this season. But the German landed his first two victories in the Tirreno-Adriatico. Young Groenewegen seems to be a new big name though, the Dutchman won stages in the Dubai Tour, Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, and pocketed his first Classic, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, while Kristoff powered to wins in the Tour of Oman and Adu Dhabi Tour before he added Eschborn-Frankfurt 2018 to his palmares. Both Gaviria’s and Greipel’s season has been plagued by setback, although they are not empty ended as they won early races – Gaviria in Latin America and Greipel at the Tour Down Under. Ewan also won a stage in his home race as well as on the Clasica de Alméria. Arnaud Démare sprinted to the win in Paris-Nice’s 1st stage on an uphill cobbled arrival.
Favourites 1st stage 2018 Tour de France
*** Dylan Groenewegen, Fernando Gaviria, Marcel Kittel
** Caleb Ewan, André Greipel, Peter Sagan, Arnaud Démare
* Alexander Kristoff, Michael Matthews, Mark Cavendish, Sonny Colbrelli
Tour de France 2018 stage 1: Route maps, and more
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Noirmoutier and Fontenay le Comte at Google maps
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