With one week until the start of the 104th Tour de France in Düsseldorf, Germany, Canadian Cycling Magazine begins its preview of the race with a look at the sprinters’ chances in La Grande Boucle.
There are nine flat stages on tap for the 2017 Tour, with four opportunities for the fast men in the first week.
The two big German sprinters, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Marcel Kittel (Quick Step) have eleven and nine Tour victories respectively. Greipel might have the edge between the two simply because his team doesn’t have a GC man like Quick Step’s Dan Martin to take care of. Both sprinters’ squads are looking for stage wins beyond those of their Germans.
After winning a stage of the Giro d’Italia, his fourth triumph of the season, loaning him the pink jersey for a day, Greipel missed the Hammer Series’ first event in early June due to illness.
Kittel has eight wins in 2017, the most recent last week at Ster ZLM in the Netherlands where he beat the Gorilla head to head.
— Ster ZLM Toer (@SterZLMtoer) June 18, 2017
Mark Cavendish‘s 30 Tour de France wins is a staggering record, and last year he added four to the tally. But it’s still unclear whether or not he’ll be on the Dimension Data roster. The Manx Missile missed nearly three months of the season due to first an ankle injury and then glandular fever or mononucleosis. His single 2017 marker came in February at the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Peter Sagan took three wins last year to give him seven in his career. Sagan is always in the mix (two seconds and three thirds in last season’s Tour) which is why he is so successful at owning the green jersey. He’s won it five years running and if he nabs his sixth, he’ll tie Erik Zabel for the record.
Alexander Kristoff, Katusha’s Norwegian, has two Tour wins on his palmares. He was on fire in February when he took half the Tour of Oman stages and one at the Etoile de Bessèges.
The Frenchmen: Three Gallic fast-twitch riders aspire to glory in their home tour. Fiery Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) needs to add a career Tour win to his three Giro and two Vuelta a España victories before his head explodes. Another fellow without a Tour triumph is FDJ’s Arnaud Démare, the most likely Frenchman. He won as recently as Wednesday and has seven conquests in 2017, including markers at Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné. Bryan Coquard‘s relationship with Direct Energie has soured since he announced he would be looking for a WorldTour outfit next year. If he makes the Tour de France lineup, it will be his fourth in a row.