The Tour de France begins on a busy weekend in the sporting landscape, with French eyes on their all-star team at Euro 2020 and a last-16 tie with their Alpine neighbours Switzerland on Monday. With Wimbledon and Formula One on the calendar and an Olympic Games just around the corner, race director Christian Prudhomme knew their was only one way for the Tour to grab the headlines, and so it is no coincidence that stage one is perfectly suited for the highly tuned puncheur’s skillset of Julian Alaphilippe.
This opening stage in Brittany is certainly more of a test than is traditional on the first day, with a coastal section that could bring in chaotic crosswinds as well as five categorised climbs, culminating in the uphill finish on the Côte de la Fosse aux Loup which will take any pure sprinters out of contention and play into the hands of one-day specialists like Alaphilippe. For the general classification contenders like Ineos Grenadiers’ Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz, UAE Emirates’ reigning Tour champion Tadej Pogacar and last year’s second-place Primoz Roglic, avoiding trouble is the name of the game here.
Alaphilippe is not the only one who will be eyeing the maillot jaune, of course. Mathieu van der Poel is riding his first Grand Tour and will be a thrilling addition to the pack on days just like this one. Just like Van der Poel, Wout van Aert is another 26-year-old cyclo-cross world champion and this is the kind of lumpy profile that could bring the best from his all-round abilities. And what about Sonny Colbrelli? He won the Italian road race title recently and his Bahrain Victory team have been getting into a winning habit of late. Follow all the latest updates below.
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