For the third time in the last four years, the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France will occur outside of the host nation. Taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany, this year’s Tour opens with a 14km individual time trial that’s flat as a pancake—aside from the ramps leading up to two bridges over the Rhine River.
Who to Watch
On paper, Stage 1 is tailor-made for the home favorite, Katusha Alpecin’s Tony Martin. A four-time world time trial champion who’s also won four Tour time trials throughout his career, Martin is indeed the 5-star favorite. But there’s one problem: the weather. With rain forecasted throughout much of the day, tomorrow’s race goes from an (almost) foregone conclusion to a crapshoot in which several riders could win depending on how wet (or dry) the course is at the time of their ride. This means outsiders like BMC’s Stefan Küng and LottoNL-Jumbo riders Jos Van Emden and Primoz Roglic (a former ski jumper who’s now a professional cyclist), have a shot at winning the Tour’s first yellow jersey.
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One of the final riders to start will be Cannondale-Drapac’s Taylor Phinney, a former US national time trial champion who just so happens to be the son of two-time Tour stage winner, Davis Phinney. As for the Tour’s many General Classification contenders, tomorrow’s stage could be a dud. On a short, wet course, the risk of crashing far outweighs the reward of gaining a few seconds on the competition, so if it’s indeed rainy, expect to see men like Team Sky’s Chris Froome, BMC’s Richie Porte, and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana ride conservatively to keep themselves—and their GC hopes—safe.
Want to know how you’d fare in a Tour Stage? Check out this video:
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