With the Tour about 2 weeks away, it’s time to start with Hot Takes and Predictions.
Here are mine:
- Ineos, EF, etc. should give up on the GC battle (leave that to UAE and JV) and go for stage wins and the polka dot jersey
- Barring JV being able to get significant time on either / both stages 2 and 5, Pogacar will win his 3rd tour in a row
Update with COVID Drop-out Poll
GC Favorites who get COVID and drop-out - who can pick up to 10
- Daniel Martínez
- Aleksandr Vlasov
- Adam Yates
- Nairo Quintana
- Geriant Thomas
- Enric Mas Nicolau
- Ben O’Connor
- Jakob Fuglsang
- Wout Van Aert
- Jack Haig
I think Pog’s luck runs out this year and he gets hamstrung by a crash/mechanical/COVID. Hopefully not, but feels like his luck is due to run out.
Hot take: Pogacar out with Covid, Roglic crashes. Vingegaard wins, Vlasov second, Thomas third
Thomas wouldn’t manage to go third if there were only 4 riders left in the race. The man is finished!
Pog wins. He is the best ever until convicted.
Unless he gets injured/covid then it’s Pog for his 3rd title.
Are all in the frame if he isn’t fully fit
The big unknown is how Van Aert’s aspirations for the Green Jersey will impact TJV’s approach to their quest for the yellow jersey.
Shocked if Pog doesn’t win to be honest - he’s phenomenal.
He’ll probably win Tour de Suisse…wouldn’t call that finished
Is Carapaz confirmed for TDF? He rode Giro…
I hope this one is wrong but I think in race (or immediately pre-race) covid positives will play a major role in the outcome
Pog wins again
Jonas will finish ahead of Rog and neither of them will have a major crash or time loss from mechanical
And my hottest of takes…WvA wins the green jersey but zero stages
Wow… if WVA didn’t win any stages that would be the biggest cycling shock of the year
That’s exactly why I added the poll to my original post. Based on what happened with the Tour de Suisse, I’m betting that COVID will be a deciding factor in this year’s Tour. Either because it knocks out one of the favorites, or has a major impact on one of the favorites teams. If stages 2 & 5 were later in the race, I would bet that COVID would be the deciding factor, as a favorite with a weaker team on these two stages could lose massive amounts of time.
What’s so special about stages 2 and 5? Crosswinds and cobbles?
- Stage 2 - 90 kilometers along the coast (wind / echelons) + crossing the Great Belt Bridge, which is 21km from the finish, and the bridge is ~6.8km in length so more change of crosswinds / echelons / chaos
- Stage 5 has 11 cobbled sectors
So both of these stages have the potential for significant time to be taken from GC contenders, if the conditions are right and a team attempts to use these stages strategically. I’m really hoping that JV or another team (or a combination of several teams) with a GC contender tries to use these stages to put minutes into Pogacar. If that doesn’t happen, the Tour GC battle will be as much of a snooze fest as the Giro was IMHO
Thomas did well by winning Tour de Suisse and looks on the right track. That being said, I don’t think he is favourite to land a spot on the podium.
I find the Tour de Suisse and a grand Tour very, very different.
Thomas has exited recent GTs after crashes or feeling bad. You can probably push through those things in a 7 day event. Not so much in a 23 day event.
Then again, it remains to be seen how hard fought the podium places are. Sometimes the level behind the first two falls off dramatically.
Just don’t think Thomas is a top 5 rider atm, probably top 20 on a top 2 team.
He won the Tour and came 2nd (who knows what might have been before the hail storm, mute point though), before that he worked for Froome.
Thomas, has been extremely unlucky, but for a random bidon, should have won the Giro.
Podium if avoids CV and a crash, 100% certain.
No green jersey for Sagan. Covid for the third time this year and only two weeks before the TdF.
By that measure, Yates is also out (and Pidcock as a domestique) before the Tour even starts.
Sagan was never going to be a runner for the green jersey IMO, times have moved on.
Against Wout van Aert (who has targeted this session primary goal), Sam Bennett, Cavendish’s replacement?, Michael Matthews. Sadly Colbrelli is out.
However yes, it is even more of a tall order
Sure. But that’s a really long time ago when you are on the tail end of your career. At 36, his ability to recover is on the decline.
Favourite in that race - yes. But the crash was already on stage 4. Not like he was cruising to victory only to be taken out by a crash in the last few days. Much could have happened in-between stage 4 an 21.
That being said, I wouldn’t totally rule out a podium spot in the tour. I just don’t think he is a favourite for it.
Roglic will catch COVID - it’s just the law that he is on the receiving end of bad luck.
Van Aert probably won’t as he went through it less than 6 months ago.
Pogacar definitely won’t because robots are not vulnerable to human/animal diseases. (JOKE, I love the guy more and more the more I see of him.)