Who Will Generate The Most Pedal Power At Le Tour
With the 2021 edition of the Tour De France underway, talk has already switched from week one stage winners to General Classification contenders and after the drama of the prologue, many riders will be counting themselves incredibly lucky.
That’s because footage shared across the world highlighted the idiocy of one spectator and with an ill-placed placard being shown to broadcasters, it would also see more than 30 entrants take a tumble to the ground.
A shocking turn of events and one that had the potential to mix up proceedings before a pedal was really turned in anger and although Chris Froome took an almighty tumble, he was at least in a position to continue racing the next day.
While in the melee of fallen riders, eyes were particularly focused on those who have been tipped to win this year’s Tour and with Slovenia suddenly becoming a hotbed for international cycling, both Tadej Podacar and Primoz Roglic managed to come away unscathed.
While by the time they had got back in the groove and the prologue approached the final few kilometres, it was down to French star Julian Alaphilippe to take the spoils on the opening day of this year’s schedule.
Then again, as far as home interest from a French point of view is concerned, pundits will wonder if he is someone who can go all the way to Paris in just over two weeks and claim the maillot jaune all for himself.
However, after getting the better of the Slovenian pair and also the likes of Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz, the 29-year-old has certainly put down a marker for those who can be considered his rival in the immediate future.
Of course, Alaphilippe is not necessarily a lock to go all the way and deliver a first French victory in this great race, since the legendary Bernard Hinault got the better of teammate Greg Lemond thirty-six years ago.
Going into the opening stage of proceedings, the Saint-Amand-Montrond born rider was only ranked as fourth favourite by those who compile the betting markets and the Pointsbet odds are currently at +1200 for an Alaphilippe success, make sure to use their promos before placing some action.
Which means if he is not considered the out and out favourite right now, many will ask the question who is and the answer to that is last year’s winner and the man who everyone is keeping an eye once again.
That man is Tadej Podacar and after winning the 2020 edition of Le Tour in dramatic circumstances – that being the penultimate day time-trial display and one that saw him supersede compatriot Primoz Roglic, he will be looking for back-to-back successes across the length and breadth of France.
They say it is difficult to win a race of this stature, but at the same time it is arguably more difficult to do it again and once you have conquered the mountains, the motivation to do it once more can sometimes be lacking.
Something that may be pertinent when it comes to the plight of Geraint Thomas and after winning back in 2018, the Welshman will look to bounce back after being left out of the 2020 squad by his Ineos employers.
For those who perhaps do not keep abreast of every cycling movement, Ineos is the new iteration of Team Sky and when you consider that in either variant of racing colours, they had won all but one Tour De France between 2012 and 2019, they will be looking to take back what they think is theirs.
The Yellow Jersey and either Sky or Ineos have created something of a symbiotic relationship in the past decade or so and with UAE Team Emirates usurping them to top spot last year, an element of payback may well be required this time.
The big question though, is just who can deliver the hammer blow from Ineos this time and once again the dilemma of too many cooks or in this case top-tier cyclists, may well come to the fore for the team bosses.
With both Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal both tasting French success in the past few years, they will both be keen to earn a second General Classification win next month. The question is, whether they end up taking all-important time off each other? For that, we will just have to wait and see.