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[1.HC] Paris-Tours
« on: October 08, 2017, 08:41 »

It will soon be time to take stock of the season, but before then Paris-Tours is the final opportunity to shine on a prestigious classic. For some it will be the chance to give a fine finish to a season already crowned with success, whilst for others a victorious punch of the air will help them to forget the grimaces and missed opportunities they have experienced since the beginning of spring. Fernando Gaviria belongs to the first category, with a roll of honour in 2017 that already boasts 11 victories, including 4 stages on the Giro. The Colombian will no doubt remember that this prosperous period started in Tours one year ago, when he achieved his first major success ahead of the world’s elite sprinters, who were preparing for the world championships in Doha. The title holder will be the man to watch on the finishing straight, but his team, Quick Step, will be lining up a squad that could spring surprises, with another former winner, Matteo Trentin (in 2015), who has also won four grand tour stages this year, on the Vuelta, as well as Zdenek Stybar, 2nd on Paris-Roubaix last spring.

Set just one week before the Doha World Championship, the 2016 edition of Paris-Tours had seen its route amputated from the two difficulties usually livening up its final 10 kilometres. As Cédric Coutouly, one of the race directors explains, the route had been modified in order to suit sprinters preparing for the big day: « The 2016 World race was drawn for a massive sprint finish. One week before completion day, we wanted to incite the favourites to come and have a dress rehearsal before flying to Qatar ».

This year, the hills of Beau Soleil and Epan are making a comeback, respectively located 9.5 and 7.5 kilometres from the finish line and it may well trouble the plans of the Gaviria, Greipel and other Cavendish. Frederic Guesdon, last French rider to grab the bouquet in 2006, went for success in this very same hill of L’Epan: « As I was riding at the front within the early breakaway, I decided to run out on my 3 mates in the hill of L’Epan. I could feel I had the legs to spice up the race and the peloton never saw me again. These two hills are ideally located and can spring a surprise, for the rider who will be able to foil the sprinters’ plans ».

Since this new finish was introduced, only one edition ended in a sprint, won by John Degenkolb in 2013. In no other edition (apart from 2016 of course, which took place on a different course) since 2011 a group larger than three arrived together on the Avenue de Grammont to fight it our for the win.

Participating Teams:

  • *be Belgium
    • #lotto Lotto-Soudal: Greipel (Ger), Debusschere, Maes (Bel)
    • #quickstep Quick Step Floors: Gaviria (Col), Trentin (Ita), Stybar (Cz)
    • #wanty Wanty - Groupe Gobert: Offredo (Fra), Van Keirsbulck (Bel)
    • #topsport Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise: Van Hecke (Bel)
    • #wallonie WB Veranclassic Aquality Protect: Ista (Bel), Spengler (Swi)
    • #verandas Veranda’s Willems-Crelan: Devolder (Bel)
  • *fr France
    • #ag2r AG2R La Mondiale: Gougeard, Cosnefroy (Fra), Naesen (Bel)
    • #fdj FDJ: Sarreau (Fra), Guarnieri (Ita), Konovalovas (Lit)
    • #fortuneo Fortuneo - Oscaro: Fonseca (Fra), McLay (GB)
    • #cofidis Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Bouhanni, Laporte, Soupe (Fra)
    • #direct Direct Energie: Chavanel, Boudat, Petit (Fra)
    • #auber HP Btp - Auber 93: R.Feillu (Fra)
    • #delko Delko Marseille Provence KTM: Martinez (Fra), Smukulis (Lit)
    • #roubaix Roubaix Lille Métropole: Antomarchi (Fra)
    • #armee Armée de Terre: Gaudin, Rostollan (Fra)
  • *de Germany
    • #sunweb Team Sunweb: Arndt (Ger), Sinkeldam (NL), Kragh Andersen (Den)
  • *ie Ireland
    • #aquablue Aqua Blue Sport: Blythe (GB), Nordhaug (Nor)
  • *nl Netherlands
    • #jumbo Team Lotto-NL Jumbo: Groenewegen (NL), Wynants (Bel)
    • #roompot Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij: Ligthart (NL)
  • *za South Africa
    • #dimension Team Dimension Data: Cavendish (GB), Eisel (Aut)
  • *ch Switzerland
    • #katusha Team Katusha Alpecin: Zabel (Ger), Morkov (Den)
  • *usa USA
    • #bmc BMC Racing Team: Küng, Drucker (Lux)
~pdf Startlist

Quickstep sends a super strong team, and they can be the decisive factor I guess. If they want to go for a sprint with Gaviria or Trentin, it's likely to happen, but if they send guys like Terpstra or Stybar up the road, it could be a completely different story. "As the saying goes, good things always come in threes! We got the two previous editions and I won’t lie, we will be at the start on Sunday to win Paris-Tours. With the two last winners enrolled, we have the ace-cards we need to respond to any race proceeding. Other teams will have a close eye on us but we will give all we have to end on a high note", said Brian Holm yesterday.

A big challenger could be #lotto Jasper de Buyst though, who looked superbly in Binche last week and said he'd target his 5th victory of the season.

The race is live on Eurosport, among others
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    • Genius James
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    • Original Fendrien...
      • Fendrien
    Re: Paris-Tours
    « Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 15:47 »
    I have to say I really enjoyed this.

    The break were a factor and needed some chasing in the end.

    It all looked on for the bunch sprint but in a way the Gavaria incident helped Quickstep as rather than keeping it all together they were free to go and rip up the road.

    It was one for the Terpstra haters to ponder after he defied the internets opinion of him and rode a great team finale.
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