I'm probably going to look stupid later for not picking Cavendish or Goss today. I think the victory will come from a Belgian or Italian, though.
The Omega team doesn't seem to be set up to look after Cav, most of the riders that would form his lead out train are in Turkey and it doesn't look like there is anybody there to nurse him over the mountains. However if he's near the front at the end he has shown he can win without a proper lead out.
Five changes for me, taking the hit on penalty transfers in order to get some sprinters in (but not Cav or Goss) and then save my transfers up for later in the week.
I just don't see it as a sprint. Still too big a climb near enough to the finish. I think the main contenders will top 20 and with GC points I don't think its worth gambling for the loss of transfers and few extra points you might gain. neck stuck well out now...
Made 1 change, played it safe, already had 3/4 potential guys for today anyway
Meersman (for Spilak)
Talansky - GC points and can sprint from a select group
Kelderman - Youth points
Martin - Waiting for enough transfers/credits to get rid with a useful transfer, maybe for Cav tomorrow
Dennis - Cheapest/best option for yesterday
Dehaes - Cheap and is a sprinter, so hopefully strong enough to hang in
Purist will get GC points from Froome and Porte and youth from Betancur, Only really have Meersman for today, Dehaes, Lobato and Ludvigsson more for tomorrow and friday. Spilak was a let down, Capecchi was a wildcard
I really cannot see this being a sprint finish today...I think quite an elite group will contest the stage win...GC riders plus the likes of Meersman,Gasparotto etc
Im stuffed so many of my picks yesterday just didn,t turn up...Spilak,Tuft,Velits,Peraud....
It could go either way, it all depends on how much Sky want to push the pace. Today is not overly difficult for the GC guys so even if Sky force the pace and try to drop the likes of Gesink, Costa or Talansky it's unlikely they'll do significant damage. That's a lot of work for minimal benefit.
My sprinty types are not flat sprinters, I haven't gone for Viviani, Cavendish or Goss, I've gone for Meersman types who can stay with the peloton over hills and contest a small group finish. I considered Talansky but kept Porte instead. I'm not particularly secretive about my team so I'll just announce now:
Meersman (for Gesink)
Albasini (for Frank)
Morabito (for Majka)
Nizzolo (for Martin)
Gavazzi (for Dennis)
so that's -30 points but a lot of potential upside if I've called it correctly. High risk, hopefully high reward.
Also, at some point in the race I was going to have to make penalty transfers to get the team I wanted for the Queen stage and TT. As long as I don't go overboard I should have 5 or 6 transfers now going into the Queen stage and some of those left over for the TT.
Im hoping that Spilak and Peraud had an ear bashing off their respective DS,s and turn up to play today....
I dumped Martin, Peraud,and Westra (should not have picked Looey ashe has shown no form this year) gone for strong sprinters Majka, Dunmoulin and Meersman, wanted Nizzolo and Goss too but didn't think the penalty points were worth the risk.
I have a feeling the whole race is pointless now as Froome is a shoo in. So why is he still not in my team?
Ah, now why didn't I pick Meersman? Hmmm.
May have got today wrong, OPQS seem to think today is for Cav
I haven't even bothered with sprinters as I don't think its coming down to a sprint, but everyone else seems to....Have I missed something?
I bought Gavazzi and Pinot in for Spilak and Martin....Pinot for GC and youth points in the 3 transitional stages at least and Gavazzi for reduced bunch sprint chances.
Once again playing catch-up though after a sub-par 60pts in the Prologue
Seriously misjudged the effects of the slope in yesterday's ITT and now it's difficult to get Froome in considering his price....but never mind Pinot will earn the same 'standings' points as him each day all being equal so just need to get Froomey in time for the queen stage.
My purists will look forward to these next 3 stages after a dismal 15pts in the prologue
Lagutin (vcd) has a sore throat and doesn't start today.
Neither does Matthews
Matthews (oge) is also a no show
Berard (ag2r) Bravo (eus) and Veilleux (euc) have gone on a little break.
i'm seeing a group of 50-60 making the final, after a sustained but not killer sky train up the climb.
I agree with drheaton that the train wont shake competitors today. however, its worth doing for:
-reel in the break?
- reduced bunch after summit means less risk of crash/injury
I'm taking the gamble cav doesnt make the cut, and plumped for goss/meersman/matthews ( ) for some sprint points.
Don't like to say this but it looks like Matthews and Lagutin DNS today. EDIT /slaps head/ look back up before posting.
Km 50.9. Châtel-St-Denis GPM 3e catégorie :
1er Bravo Oiarbide, 5pts.
2e Bérard, 3pts.
3e Veilleux, 2pts.
4 Fumeaux, 1pt.
Gap now 4.45
After 77km gap down to 3.15. Sky leading the chase.
This is coming back together then, what do we think, GC sprint-off or something involving some actual sprinters?
Still a long drag up that cat2.
Km 82.4, GPM à Martherenges, 3e cat :
1er Bravo, 5pts.
2e Bérard, 3.
3e Veilleux, 2.
4e Bilbao, 1.
After 91km gap 2.35
Gap still the same after 96km. Only 16km to the first sprint.
I've mainly got guys that I'm hoping will be in the mix regardless of whether the top sprinters get dropped. So Wyss, Goss, Meersman, Nizzolo, Dehaes and Albasini (hopefully he will sprint if Goss is dropped).
But every decision I've made for Romandie so far has been the wrong one - I even had Berard in my team initially. So not expecting much today!
The three leaders went through the sprint with a lead of 2.05. Don't know which order. 63.5km to go