“Fabio Aru can win this race” murmur the Italian’s hardcore following. “He’s climbed another place” note the believers as the former Vuelta winner creeps towards the top ten just 1:08 behind new leader Simon Yates. Unfortunately, the number of fans who still believe in the Italian is dwindling. You could even argue that nobody truly believes that Aru can have a say on this year’s Vuelta. When did things become so hopeless for Italy’s bright young climber?
The Grand Tours keep coming. I can’t remember a season where the gap between the Giro and the Vuelta felt so quick. The Vuelta holds no surprises. The route is spiky and comes to a head in the final week. The field is packed with a mixture of big name GC riders seeking redemption and we’ve even got a top tier sprinter! Here are eight predictions…
In recent years we’ve been treated to the stickiest of sticky bottles and the most ridiculous of car tows but nothing to challenge the great disqualifications of yesteryear. We did see Eduardo Sepulveda hitch a ride from a team car – nope, not his own – whilst searching for a spare wheel but many felt this was an innocent act of panic. Some race removals are even harder to believe especially with many not taking place on live feed cameras. Here are five of the, erm, best.
*Spoiler* – Sagan not included!
I was once told my view on Team Sky’s dominance – and jiffy bags – was balanced and refreshing. I don’t like Sky, but I try not to obsess on one collection of riders. I’d rather talk about key moments in races, winning moves or bold tactics. I’ve also been told my view on Team Sky is dull and inconclusive. I don’t make my mind up. I don’t love Chris Froome (he’s never been my preferred race winner) but nor do I condemn him.
If somebody asked me which team have won six tours in the last seven years I’d say Team Sky with no hesitation or caveat. Unfortunately, alarm bells have been ringing almost the entire time. Following Geraint Thomas’ victory at this year’s Tour – a race where Froome looked surprisingly human, but former E3 Harelbeke winner Thomas delivered a flawless climbing performance – it’s time to make my mind up on the issues which make the Sky regime quite so dubious.
The 2018 Tour will eventually be remembered fondly; John Degenkolb’s resurgent win in Roubaix, a cracking battle on Alpe d’Huez and Julian Alaphilippe’s moustache curling with happiness all over France. Nevertheless, fans are in agreement that the final week fizzled out without much happening. Who were the stars of the last three weeks? Here’s my team of the Tour.
The final week of the Tour de France is a time where absolutely anything could happen.
Or absolutely nothing.
We could see a continuation of the Alps – Sky squashing Movistar, Dumoulin digging in – or something completely different. Will our race leader hang on? Will the Giro take its toll? Just how bad will Romain Bardet’s final time trial be? Here are some possible outcomes…
After a cold winter, we all look forward to the first proper hot day. We might even get bored of waiting and jump on a plane to our favourite coast. And then – when we do get some real sun – we all know someone who will declare: ‘This too hot, far too hot’.
Do we even know what we want anymore? Do we like bunch sprints as much as we thought? We’ve all been waiting for a sprint showdown of the calibre provided by this year’s Tour; are we really already bored? Maybe you can have too much of a good thing.
The Tour de France starts this weekend. The route is interesting and the start-list is stacked. Here are my predictions for the race; most of them are realistic…