Stage 11: Eymet – Pau
203.5km – Suited to bunch sprint or breakaway
Stage 10 was again the Kittel show as the German took his 4th stage win of the Tour and took an almost unassailable lead in the green jersey competition. Dylan Groenewegen, The Wolf’s value pick, managed to grab a podium position for each way backers but nobody got even close to Kittel as he won by a number of bike lengths. The Wolf cannot understand why the sprint teams, other than Quick Step, helped to chase down the small breakaway group as they must have realised by now that they simply cannot beat Kittel in a bunch sprint finish. Maybe they are happy with top 10 finishes but they shouldn’t be. They should be looking to get their rouleurs into breaks instead, at least that way they animate these boring sprint stages and also have a better chance at stage wins.
Yet another dull sprint stage, or maybe not. The Wolf is going rogue tonight and will be looking at a number of breakaway riders that might just sneak a win. There is absolutely no value in backing the sprinters as Kittel has been priced at $1.61! With 180 riders left in the race, The Wolf cannot take those odds. In recent years there has always been at least one ‘sprint’ stage that has thrown up a strange result and tonight might just be perfect for a breakaway win. On paper the route looks about as pan flat as it could possibly get, even The Wolf on his fixie could give it a good nudge on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, the finish is in Pau – breakaway territory. The last time the Tour visited the gateway to the Pyrenees, Pierrick Fedrigo won the stage from Vande Velde in a breakaway group of 5 that led home the peloton by almost 12minutes. At some point during this race, the peloton will stop chasing the break and The Wolf is hoping that tonight is that night. The GC contenders will be hoping for an easy day given what lies ahead on stage 12 & 13 and if the break consists of a strong group of riders, it stands a chance of sneaking home. If the sprint teams decide to chase then they’ll be pretty much handing another victory to Kittel and surely most teams have had enough of that. Chapeau the break!
Thomas Boudat – $101
The young French rider from Direct-Energie was an impressive 11th last night but tonight could be the ideal stage for him to shine. Local to the area, Boudat possesses a decent finishing kick and his team will be keen to get a couple of their riders into the break. If the peloton allow the break to get away and Boudat is there, he’ll be very hard to beat.
Stefan Kung – $101
Now that Richie Porte is out of the race, BMC will be looking for stage wins and Stefan Kung could be the right man to send into the break. The Swiss rider is a beast of a cyclist, measuring in at 193cm & 83kg. He won a rainy stage in the 2015 Tour of Romandie, as part of the early breakaway and powering away from the group with around 30km to go to the finish. This stage needs power men in the break and Kung fits the bill.
Guillaume van Keirsbulk – $201
The Belgian powerhouse has already spent a day in the breakaway on stage 4, unfortunately for him he did it on his own! A 190km solo rider on exposed roads was probably not in plans but he has shown that he is ready to animate the race and if he can form part of a strong group, he has the power to capitalise on any opportinty offered by the peloton. His win in Le Samyn in March was impressive and he was the main driving force in that race, enabling the break to stay away from the main field. Wanty Groupe Gobert will be keen to get another up the road after Offredo’s efforts overnight and Van Keirsbulk could well be that man.