Ready, Set, Go! The Tour Begins!
It’s 4 of July! The 2015 Tour De France starts today! The tour kicks off in Utrecht, Netherlands (the sixth time the tour started from the Netherlands). Stage 1 is a 13.8km long, urban set, individual time-trial in Utrecht.
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None of the general classification leaders can afford to lose seconds on any stage, even if it’s a relatively short time trial (last year had a 54km time trial). Seconds lost at any stage, especially time trials, can really change the outcome.
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This stage is however for the time trial specialists to really set the pace and battle it out amongst each other for stage glory and the chance to wear the Maillot Jaune (the yellow jersey) tomorrow in the first mass stage. The main general category contenders will mostly fight it out to best position themselves in comparison to their rivals.
What might make this a bit more interesting to most is the urban setting, unlike other time trials (team and individual) which are set out of a city. In my opinion, you should expect Tony Martin of Etixx-Quick Step to win the stage. The German has been the premier time trial specialist in the last few years and has won several Individual, Team, National Time Trials since 2011 (he comes to the tour as the German Time Trial Champion). His main rival for this stage will be Team Trek Factory Racing’s Fabian Cancellara of Switzeland. The 34 year-old Swiss rider is no stranger to the Yellow Jersey, and has worn it on several occasions in the past, thanks to a spectacular time trial performance.
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The Fan's Perspective
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For the possible overall winners of the Tour, Chris Froome ,Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Niabli would be the best placed to either win it or position themselves firmly in the top 10. Quintana isn’t as good as his rivals on the time trial and might not be able to break into the top 10. BMC’s Tejay van Garderen, Jean-Christophe Péraud of Ag2r-La Mondiale, Leopold König of Team Sky are other riders who can easily break into the top 10. Thibault Pinot of FDJ would also be looking to improve his Time-Trial performance, which costed him 2nd overall at the 2014 Tour to compatriot Péraud.
Editor : Akanksha Agarwal