Following the ITT on stage 13, Tour de France Stage 14 should revert to form and the flatter terrain bodes well for a sprint finish.
I’m really happy because I nailed the stage 13 ITT predictions. Got the stage winner, said Mollema would go well and the traditional ITT riders would struggle! Just a shame that Pinot retired due to sickness prior to the stage starting.
Stage 14 – The Profile
The profile for stage 14 shows a lumpy stage. It features 3 category 4 climbs as well as a number of small unclassified climbs. This is similar terrain to some of the early season One Day Classics.
The route is a longer one at 208.5 kms. It starts in Montelimar and finishes in Villars-Les-Dombes Parc Des Oiseaux.
The sprinters teams will still be smarting from the ‘great, late escape’ by Peter Sagan, Chris Froome and two team-mates on stage 11. That was all set-up for a bunch sprint but the crosswinds allowed 4 riders to escape and contest the win.
For sure a breakaway will form on stage 14. Ordinarily, I would suggest this is the perfect stage for a break to succeed. If stage 11 had played out as planned I would be tipping breakaway riders. There is no way the sprint teams will allow that to happen again here. The run in is fairly flat for the lasy 50kms. Crosswinds might cause some issues but I feel the sprint teams will have complete control of the race.
Which Sprinter has the best legs?
No I’m not going to get my girlfriend to rate the sprinters legs! She likes Tom Boonen and he isn’t riding here anyway. But I do raise a valid question. There was talk pre-race that Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Etixx Quickstep) would not complete the 2016 race. Cavendish so he could focus on the Olympics and Kittel for a potential ride at the Vuelta. Both remain in the race, having climbed through the Pyrenees and Mont Ventoux on stage 12. Have they already gone further in this race than anticipated?
Kittel is stage favourite in the 3.0 range with Cavendish close behind at 4.0. Obviously, the value is with Cavendish as the EW just comes in to play. Cavendish is also the winner of 3 stages to Kittel’s 1 in the 2016 race. I would favour Cavendish of the two but think there is more value elsewhere.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) has really made me smile in this race. He attacks all the time. He has power, speed and when he wants to he can climb. Sagan has to be watched at all times. The unexpected for others has become the norm for him. I loved the move on stage 11 where he attacked with a teammate off the front of a speeding peloton. He won the stage deservedly and he will be in contention for victory on stage 14. I am surprised he can be backed in the 11.0-12.0 range – this has serious EW potential. True he lacks the elite speed of Kittel and Cavendish but how tired are they?
Andre Griepel (Lotto Soudal) is running out of chances to win a stage in the 2016 race. He was valiant on the Mont Ventoux stage at one point leading the breakaway group. Once the gradient increased he fell away. I’m not sure if he will win a stage in this years race. He did come good later in the 2016 Giro D’Italia but was that due to the fact Marcel Kittel pulled out? Griepel is 3rd favourite at 5.50-6.50 but I see that as a real stetch.
I have tipped Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) a couple of times in this race and he has not delivered. He has been let down by poor positioning in the last 3kms. This has left him with too much to do at the end of the stage. Whilst he is quick he starts his sprint form too far back and can never catch up. He is fairly priced, given recent stage struggles at 12.0.
Beyond these five there is a huge gap in the odds and I cannot see anyone else winning the stage.
I have one Head-to-Head bet for the stage. I like Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-NL) to beat Edward Theuns (Trek). Theuns crashed quite heavily on stage 11whilst Groenewegen has been performing fairly consistently in the sprints. The injury sways me in favour of Groenewegen.
Tour de France Stage 14 Tips
Back Peter Sagan to win stage 14 with a 1.5/10 EW bet (1/4 odds top 3) at 11.0 with Paddy Power. PLACED
Back Dylan Groenewegen to beat Edward Theuns with a 4.0/10 stake at 1.55 with Paddy Power. VOID – Theuns pulled out of the race before the stage started.
Back Sagan and Groenewegen here: