Stage 21: Chantilly – Paris
113km – Suited to sprinters
The Wolf’s pre-race best bet, Chris Froome, last night confirmed his 3rd Tour de France title in a pretty uneventful stage for the Maillot Jaune holder. He has been by far the strongest rider in the race and fully deserves to be the champion, although he hasn’t faced much competition from his rivals. Team Sky have absolutely dominated the whole race, pretty much strangling the opposition to the point that nobody dared to attack for the fear of losing their top ten position. Froome now heads to the Olympics and has to be the favourite for Time Trial Gold with Tom Dumoulin unsure of his fitness after breaking his arm on Stage 19.
Stage 20 was a good spectacle with plenty of aggressive riding in the breakaway in difficult, wet conditions. Jon Izaguirre rode a perfect race, and descended really well off the Col de Joux Plane to open up a gap on Pantano & Nibali and win his first Grand Tour stage.
The final stage of this year’s race sees the largely processional trip around Paris and finish along the Champs Elysees. It is a stage for the sprinters whilst Froome sips champagne and plods along in the peloton. The stage is all about having the best lead out train and having the ability to position yourself well to give the best chance a powering over the line for the win. Kittel is unbeaten here, winning on both of his 2 previous visits and is favourite for the stage after Cavendish withdrew from the race to concentrate on his Olympic dream.
The riders will complete 8 circuits of the Parisian streets, which will be lined by around 1 million people cheering on their heroes.
The German is unbeaten on this stage and goes into the race as favourite. He is very short in the betting however, especially given that he hasn’t performed well this year. His one stage win was very close and he is definitely less dominant than in the past. Happy to leave him alone at the price.
The Gorilla has struggled to perform this year and despite his win here last year, he has not performed well in Paris. His team have let him down on a number of occasions and he might find it tough to repeat last year’s win.
The Green jersey winner has had no luck in Paris, finishing 2nd in 2012 and 4th in 2013. He wouldn’t usually be competitive on the flat sprints, however he will be coming into the race much fresher than his rivals and has had a fantastic race. He looks incredibly strong and is the Wolf’s favourite to win the stage.
Whilst Kristoff & Greipel fade as the race goes on, the Norwegian gets stronger. His lead out train is performing well and the slightly uphill cobbled finish suits him. He should be fresher than his rival sprinters and represents good value for the win.
Runner-up to Greipel last year, the Frenchman will be targeting the stage win today. He has been riding well and the slightly uphill, short finish suits his riding style. He showed an incredible turn of speed last year and with the main sprinters struggling for form, he could take advantage.