Tour de France Stage 18 Preview: Trie Sur Baise to Pau

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 7:44 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2018 7:44 PM UTC

A brief hiatus in the climbing battles, as the riders head to Pau for one more sprint stage ... or will the break stay away again?

<p>An amazing day Wednesday with Geraint Thomas cementing his place at the top of the GC with a stunning ride, but there were also amazing rides from Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin taking 1st and 2nd on the stage. We were unlucky again, with our pick Primoz Roglic finishing 4th, just outside the place money again.</p><p> </p><h2>The Route</h2><p>Despite being a stone’s throw from the Pyrenees, the route heads north and away from the mountains, before doubling back to finish in Pau. It’s almost totally flat, the highest point being just after the last KOM point with 152.5kms gone, and that’s just 336m high. The finish is flat but technical, but we should see a sprint finish, or so you would think.</p><p><img alt src="" style="width:870px;height:492px" /></p><h2> </h2><h2>Analysis and Picks</h2><p>There aren’t many sprinters left in the race, and it could have been a very short preview, but are there enough sprinters left to make the sprinters teams pull back a strong break? This is the last chance for the Baraduers to get a stage win, the remaining stages are mountains or the sprint in Paris, so there should still be a big battle to get in the break and they will give it everything to stay away.</p><p>With Peter Sagan battered and bruised after his crash Wednesday and with the possibility that FDJ may not have any allies following the allegations of Demare getting towed up the climbs again, there may not be too many teams that are going to be able to, or want to chase.</p><p>So break candidates then ... strong men, time trial type guys, that can put the power down all day. First up, Magnus Cort and Michael Valgren – I think there will be a big break go, possibly 20 or 30 guys and Astana could have 2 or more in the break again – Valgren and Cort looked so strong on Sunday, either of them could have won. Super strong rouleurs, great finishers, they both could be involved in the break and would have a good chance at victory.</p><p>Nikias Arndt has been climbing impressively well in the last few days, and he seems to have very strong legs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try his luck, and if it comes to a break sprint, he’d have a good chance.</p><p>Arthur Vichot has also been riding extremely well, he finished 32nd Wednesday on that brutally fast day of climbing, but he is also very good in breaks and in sprints against lesser sprinters. With FDJ possibly not having much confidence in Demare after two days of torture in the mountains, maybe Vichot will be let go in the hope others like UAE will take up the chasing?</p><p>Pawel Poljanski, Maciej Bodnar or Daniel Oss could all have a go Thursday if Sagan is not in a fit state to be contesting the stage win, Bora have been very active in breaks, they are sure to get some more guys in the break Thursday and I’m going to take a chance on Poljanski being the one.</p><p>I’ve picked Simon Clarke before and he has started to show his nose at the front of the race a bit more in the last few days, trying to get in breaks, so maybe he could sneak in this time. <a href="" title="Sports Betting Odds">He’s a massive price at +$40000</a>; he’s worth a small interest.</p><p>And <a href="" title="Free Sports Picks">Nils Politt is another I’ve had in my picks before</a>, and he too has been trying to get in breaks without any success either. Katusha have had a horror show in this Tour so far, but Politt has the legs I think to get in a break like this and help power it along.</p><p>Thomas de Gendt, Toms Skujins, Jasper Stuyven, and Sylvain Chavanel are other likely break candidates at big prices you can back if you like them. They might get involved too.</p><p>The break has an 80% chance of making it I think, but if not, it should be a good battle between Kristoff and Demare, with a slight fancy for Kristoff seeing as he has been riding a lot better than Demare lately. But don’t be surprised to see that Sagan, in a full body cast still beats both of them.</p><p> </p><h2>Selections</h2><p>0.2pts win on Nils Politt at +$25000<br />0.2pts win on Pawel Poljanski at +$20000<br />0.2pts win on Arthur Vichot at +$15000<br />0.2pts e/w on Michael Valgren at +$6600<br />1pt win on Magnus Cort at +$1400<br />0.2pts e/w on Nikias Arndt at +$4000</p>
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