What could happen in the final week?

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…

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Showdown On The Izoard: Who Could Win And How?

It hasn’t been easy but on the eve of Stage 18 of the 2017 Tour de France we can conclude the organisers have got what they wanted. They didn’t want Chris Froome to stomp his familiar brand of victory all over this year’s edition and they wanted each mountain stage to be ridden in earnest. Tomorrow’s stage isn’t mind-blowingly difficult but a simple double-peaked profile with a finish on the Col d’Izoard ensures there’s one last roll of the dice for a tightly packed top six.

We have a pretty good idea of what will happen on the final time trial. Unless Rigoberto Uran does something spectacular – or fate intervenes once more – Froome will gain time on Stage 20. Uran should be the next best, with Fabio Aru somewhere between the Colombian and Romain Bardet, the worst time triallist in the top four. With this in mind, we will certainly see some attacks tomorrow. Froome looks beatable and that hasn’t always been the case.

With gaps still relatively small, several riders could hypothetically seize the yellow jersey.  Here’s how…

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Who’s The Most Exciting Rider at This Year’s Tour?

Dull Tour de France route seeks exciting rider to help deliver spectacular three-week showcase.

With a surprisingly open GC race and nothing too taxing on the legs, riders should be up for the opportunity to attack, attack, attack.

This year just might be the year for a genuine underdog to try something special; Chris Froome’s looking human, Richie Porte’s cursed by seven year’s bad luck and Nairo Quintana’s looking… exactly like he always does. But even aside from the GC battle, we’ve got Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert, Diego Ulissi and Steve Cummings.

Cummings
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What’s Wrong With Chris Froome?

There has been plenty of suggestion that Chris Froome’s not quite his usual self. There have even been whispers that Froome might not actually win the Tour de France for a fourth time.

Doubts about the bookie’s favourite have emerged as a result of a number of factors: the ASO’s flat and fast route, the arise of Richie Porte, a rumoured fallout with Team Sky and the fact he is yet to win a race in 2017. But are any of these factors heavy enough to stop Froome from rocking up on his Pinarello, winning the first mountain stage, topping up his advantage on an Alpine descent and riding into Paris with a bottle of beer?

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Is Marcel Kittel Really The Best?

All sprinters have bad days. Whether they get dropped, get blocked, puncture or crash, every sprinter will be able to recall days where they just weren’t able to contest a sprint. But when you’re as good as Marcel Kittel – and he really is good – should you be worried about the number of days where things don’t quite go to plan?

This is a harsh view to take when you picture Kittel accelerating clear on the Champs Elysees to land his fourth Tour de France stage in 2013 – or the way he easily crushed the solid sprint field in Nijmegen at the 2016 Giro – but the German continues to be a risky man to throw your money at.

Kittel

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Tour de France 2017: The Big Preview

Next weekend sees the return of cycling’s most famous race. The Tour de France is the race even your non-cycling friends will have a passing interest in. It’s the one that might make it on to the evening news or the back page of the paper. Nobody wants to hear that your favourite stage of Paris-Nice was actually more exciting because – in reality – nothing can compete with Le Tour.

Chris Froome returns to France this year seeking a place amongst the greats with a fourth win in five years. Nairo Quintana – half way through a tepid and doomed Giro/Tour double – was pencilled in as Froome’s biggest challenger but a raging Richie Porte has finally got his act together and will now start as the main danger.

Cycling : 99th Tour de France 2012 / Stage 20

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