Stage 1: Porto-Vecchio to Bastia, 212km, flat
The 100th edition of the Tour de France starts in Corsica with a full road stage, not the traditional prologue time trial. The front end of this stage is rolling, with a cat 4 climb around the 45km mark, but that’s nothing to worry about.
The sprinters will have no problem with this and once the stage flattens out, the trains will leave the station and vie for control of the peloton. The road surface might be a little raggedy in places and the wind might kick up as they ride up the coast but unless aliens come down and disrupt the peloton, this should end in a bunch sprint between, among others, Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan. What a class group to set off the opening fireworks to this historic Tour.
However, watch out for a tight double right-hander with 2km to go which could easily result in the kind of carnage we witnessed in a similar position on the opening stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Fingers crossed everyone makes it through unscathed.
Bit of trivia: If Mark Cavendish wins this sprint, it will be the first time he has donned the maillot jaune, completing his set of grand tour leaders’ jerseys. I suspect he’ll ride like he’s been shot out of a cannon.
Link: Official website
Header picture: Citadelle Bastia