Thursday, January 24, 2013

TDU Preview - Stage 4

My joker for the overall win, Tom-Jelte Slagter, put in an amazing finish in Stirling when he opened up early and kept Matt Goss and Phillipe Gilbert behind him. On the final meters Slagter didn’t go full gas in order to celebrate which probably cost him an extra second in the overall classification. Let’s hope he won’t lose the race because of that.

Stage 4 is a typical sprint stage. Some of the sprinters - like Kittel and Guardini - haven't even seen a bunch sprint so far in the race, so for those guys it will be an important stage in order to get some valuable WT points for their teams.

The big favorite is of course Andre Greipel. The extra added laps in Stirling proved to be too much for the German, but on fast flat finish he’s the man to beat. Lotto-Belisol will be eager to set up their impressive leadout-train once again and unless Argos-Shimano finally get it right and take the lead, nobody should be able to pass Greipel before the line.

The way I see it only two guys have the kick to make an upset on this stage. Arnaud Démare - joker for the first stage taking 2nd place - and Andrea Guardini. With his impressive finish on stage 1 I guess I can’t justify picking Démare as a ‘joker’ again, seeing how  he’s now one of the best pick for a top3 spot on the stage, so instead I’ll go with Guardini.

Nicknamed “Flash” because of his fast finish on the final meters, Guardini is yet to show his talent on the World Tour. Last year he won 10 races for Farnese-Vini, including the fastest stage in the Giro where he took Cavendish by surprise, and with only one climb on the menu - and that’s done with 100 km to go - Andre Guardini should be in the mix for sprint. Normally Guardini doesn’t need a leadout, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have in-form Simone Ponzi to keep him in front. As said, I think it will be very difficult to beat Andre Greipel, but if Lotto-Belisol don’t time it right, Guardini won’t hesitate to take his chance.

Winnerpick: Andre Greipel
Joker: Andrea Guardini

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