Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tour Preview - Stage 20

Champagne time! Or at least until the riders enter the centre of Paris. From here on it’s hardcore racing for the win on Champs-Élysées and most likely it will end up in a mass sprint.

Showing on Stage18 that he is still kicking and ready for the Olympics, Mark Cavendish will be the man to beat in order to win Sunday afternoon. For the first time in this Tour de France, Cavendish will have a whole team able to work for him and personally I’m looking forward to see the yellow jersey working for the World Champion…

Especially the fact that Team Sky now finally will be able to give Cavendish his leadout train will be an interesting factor since it will be the first they will be competing against Lotto-Belisol in order to deliver their sprinter in the perfect position. In the beginning of the race, Andre Greipel got everything like he wanted and finished it off perfectly with one stage win after the other, but I doubt it will be that easy for him on Champs-Élysées.

One of my own jokers for the stage is Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank’s Juan José Haedo. Haedo is a real power sprinter and not many in this sport can match his top speed on the final meters. If Haedo manages to get on the right wheel in the final I think he can do some damage and even though I doubt he can win the stage I think top3 is within his reach.

If you are looking for a super-super joker, try Luisle Sanchez or Alexander Vinokourov. Sanchez was once again (!) denied a stage win due to Team Sky’s superiority in the final time trial and he seems to be going very strong in the end of this Tour. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to attack on the final laps on Champs-Élysées and why not together with Alexander Vinkourov, who desperately tries to put his mark on his final Tour de France. Vino already knows what it takes to cheat the sprinters and win in Paris and I’m sure he will try to repeat that this time.

Winner pick: Mark Cavendish
Top3 pick: Juan José Haedo
Jokers: Luisle Sanchez and Alexander Vinokourov

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