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The book-keeping duties:

There's a lot to be said about the sprint finishes, it is not just that the in-shape version of #quickstep Kittel is faster than the rest of the field. There is also the fact that the trains consistently seem to battle each other to death already at 1 km to go, so there is no real successful leadout,  The best sprinters go mano a mano for much of the last kilometer and that reveals who can do stuff on their own and who needs a succesful leadout to win  (except #sky Viviani isn't here either....he is a master of the do-it-yourself sprint.)

Kittel looks as strong as in in the Giant-Shimano days (but there's no Dege on the leadout here.) Teams like #fdj and #katusha and maybe also #lotto that have strong candidates  but lack just a little on the accelration and top speed, need to get rid of Kittel before the finale, for instance by racing har in the last 1/3 of the course, if there are any hills  speed bumps that can stop the train from Thüringen.  Kittel's major weakness is he is the first to drop from the peloton on a lumpy course.
Another note, #katusha leadership (I guess that means Azevedo or Scmidt) ordered Kristoff to loose weight before the TdF and he did, but he gets  beaten up by the heavyweight champion in these flat stage, flat sprint finishes. I guess that is predictable? 
That means #katusha must believe Aleksander's chances are better when there are some hills on the way (probably precisely because of Kittel). With Sagan out of the race, that kind of stages now are quite open, but Kristoff's window of opportuinty is small because if it gets even more hilly, Demare and Matthews have the upper hand.

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