On the maps and profiles of the Tour de France, stage 1 seems like a rolling loop south into the most lovely pieces of Brittany in advance of the initially yellow jersey is put up for grabs with a sprint on the outskirts of Landerneau.
Nevertheless as the riders realised when they reconned the closing kilometres of the stage right after arriving in Brest, the 197.8km phase, and specially the uphill complete on the Côte de la Fosse aux Loup, are considerably far more difficult than envisioned, heightening the pressure of the Tour de France Grand Départ.
The stage end seems a excellent battleground for Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michael Matthews (Staff BikeExchange) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), but it could also exam the mettle of the total contenders who will be fearful of crashes and time gaps on the to start with day of the Grand Tour fight.
It will be wonderful to enjoy but awful to experience.
“The 1st phase is always super hectic and incredibly messy,” Matthews warned with a voice of encounter. “It’s a 3.5-kilometre uphill end, it really is heading to be quite challenging. It is not going to be a clear-cut normal bunch sprint.
Van der Poel issued similar warnings: “It’s harder than it seems, so I’ll have to be on top rated of my sport to attempt to gain on a complete like this.”
His doubts are a clearer indication than of what is to occur on Saturday afternoon as riders fight for the stage victory, the initially yellow jersey and an significant haul of 50 points in the environmentally friendly jersey competition.
The Tour de France has historically started off with a prologue time demo or a dash, but this calendar year race organisers wished to include an extra twist on each phases of the opening weekend and perhaps favour Alaphilippe as substantially as achievable.
Sunday’s phase 2 complete on Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan will be similarly screening and equally rewarding, with yet another 50 points on present to the winner and time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds to combat for.
“I think it’s going to play out a lot like an Ardennes Vintage, it is going to be a great deal a lot more tricky than men and women imagined. The finale will fit guys like Van der Poel, Van Aert and Colbrelli, ” Michael Woods explained to Cyclingnews as he prepares to struggle for a area in the general classification, replacing Chris Froome as Israel Start-Up Nation’s protected leader.
Press by Brittany for rapidly finish
Stage 1 commences in Brest, with the riders accumulating in the reduce industrial port spot for the roll out at lunchtime of 197 kilometres of racing.
The Tour has presently frequented the military services and port metropolis 31 instances around the several years and hosted the Grand Départ a few other occasions, each 1 inspiring a huge-identify opening phase winner. In 1952 Rik Van Steenbergen took the yellow jersey in the phase to Rennes, in 1974 Eddy Merckx received the prologue on his way to his fifth and closing Tour victory, then in 2008 Alejandro Valverde gained in Plumelec.
Landerneau is only a short trip absent up the estuary but the stage loops south in the Brittany lanes to climb a selection of categorised cotes.
The Côte de Trébéolin arrives soon after crossing the Rade de Brest, with the other categorised climbs and a variety of other rollers filling the experience south and then again north by the trees of the Parc Naturel d’Armorique.
The only intermediate dash arrives immediately after 135km and when previous this, the riders climb into the rugged Monts d’Arrée location across pretty open up moorland. The temperature forecasts propose cloudy grey skies right after rain on Friday and so dry roadways with tiny opportunity of wind, and so echelon attacks.
The disorders ought to guide to a mighty sprint struggle on the uphill end following three remaining little cotes and a rapid descent down to the river level in central Landerneau, where the jockeying for position will surely start but will be difficult to hold.
The Côte de la Fosse aux Loups is 3.5km long and commences at the edge of the river Elorn, with a appropriate and left transform creating a chicane that will slow the peloton and make positioning for the acceleration on to the last climb even far more essential.
The street climbs steeply for the to start with 500 meters at 9.4 for every cent with a highest gradient of 14 for each cent at a single area. It begins on the narrow Rue du Pontic, a facet avenue up the aspect of the hill, much like the reduce slopes of the Mur de Huy at Fleche Wallonne.
Right after moving into the Rue Jean-Louis Rolland, the street goes straight up the hill and the gradient stays over 6 per cent for a further kilometre, right before quite little by little flattening out in the second half.
The steep decrease section will absolutely encourage some assaults but the strongest groups are possible to steam roll the moves to protect their quick finishers.
Alaphilippe could try out to get absent from his speedier rivals and attract out a modest group, but it will be a risky tactic when the likes of Jumbo-Visma are driving for Van Aert and Ineos Grenadiers are attempting to shield their several leaders.
It appears to be like like an suitable complete for Van der Poel, who can go after an Alaphilippe-design assault and even now acquire a electricity sprint to the line, just as he did to gain the Amstel Gold Race in 2019.
What a story it would be if the Dutchman ended up to get yellow on his to start with working day as a Tour de France rider immediately after the yellow jersey eluded his grandfather Raymond Poulidor through his full job.
The peloton is likely to be lined out from the large effort and hard work required on the gradual climb, with gaps quite possibly forming in the line that could expense some GC riders precious seconds. A single just one-2nd hole suggests any riders driving are provided their possess time and not that of the very first rider of the group. A single hole could imply a time decline of numerous seconds, and a number of gaps could mean riders shed 20 seconds or much more.
Even 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Crew Emirates) is informed of the threats of the opening phase.
“Every 2nd counts in the end but it’s additional vital not to reduce time,” he warned.