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Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
« on: August 20, 2020, 12:46 »
Grand Départ of the 2020 Tour de France[1]

August 29th to 31st

The starts from the South of France are among the options offering unusual prospects and scenarios. By hosting the Grand Depart of the 2020 Tour de France, Nice is writing a new chapter of its long history with cycling, which started in 1906 with a first visit by the Tour. For the 100th edition, the town was also asked to provide a superb gateway onto the continent when the peloton reached the mainland from Corsica. Almost 40 years ago, the 1981 edition also started from Nice, where Bernard Hinault made another show of strength and class. The prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes department is also an annual fixture of the cycling calendar with the Race to the Sun, often providing nail-biting finales.


The first stages of the 107th edition should prove just as exciting. While the riders will be forced to raise on their pedals straightaway for the ascent of cote d'Aspremont, the three laps of the circuit designed for the opening stage should normally lead to a bunch sprint on Promenade des Anglais.



But the man sporting the Yellow Jersey the next morning will certainly struggle to retain it given the profile of another Nice-Nice stage this time highlighting the hilly profile of the city's hinterland. On the 190 km of the course, the riders will have to tackle col de la Colmiane, col de Turini and Col d'Eze! A fierce battle of climbers on only the second day of the race...



The Col de Quarte Chemins finish is well known from Paris Nice 2018 and 2019:



This time Cold'Eze will be from the other side though, and from the bottom. So it could potentially be a very selective start to the race, before the Tour de France leaves Nice and heads toward Sisteron, for what's likely to be another sprint stage:

 1. Source of introduction: ASO press release
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #1 on: August 26, 2020, 08:57 »
    over the past days, I read some interviews, and was surprised to see that people like Gilbert mentioned stage 1 as an opportunity to take #yellow Yellow, and also seeing van Aert names as the favourite for the stage (like #ag2r Cherel did, for example).

    All action basically would need to happen on this part of the stage, starting with ~65k to go:



    Followed by a quick, technical descent, and then 28k to the line. Is this really hard enough to drop the sprinters? Personally I struggle to see it.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #2 on: August 26, 2020, 10:09 »
    over the past days, I read some interviews, and was surprised to see that people like Gilbert mentioned stage 1 as an opportunity to take #yellow Yellow, and also seeing van Aert names as the favourite for the stage (like #ag2r Cherel did, for example).

    All action basically would need to happen on this part of the stage, starting with ~65k to go:



    Followed by a quick, technical descent, and then 28k to the line. Is this really hard enough to drop the sprinters? Personally I struggle to see it.
    The first part of that climb, the Col de Rimiez, is a decent-enough climb, 5.8 km at 5.1%. If you go hard on that, the false flats until Levens will make it hard for anyone to come back.

    But that would require one or several teams to commit fully to that tactic, and even then some of the sprinters might still come back. Lots of investment for uncertain reward - probably we'll just see a slightly reduced bunch sprint.
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #3 on: August 27, 2020, 00:59 »
    I can see Gilbert, Sagan (if in form) or GVA having a good go.  The likes of Van Aert, Naeson etc might struggle with team committment given they have GC ambitions.    It will certainly need the cooperation of a few teams to go all in for it.

    But - with the yellow jersey at stake, it appears more likely than if this stage were in the middle week
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #4 on: August 27, 2020, 01:01 »
    Having said that - Demare is in red hot form, got over the climbs in yesterdays Euro Championships fairly easily, and for the want of a decent leadout, would be wearing the Euro champions jersey instead of the French National one.
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #5 on: August 27, 2020, 02:56 »
    Ignore that - just realised Demare is not going to the Tour

    and Lotto will be riding for the sprint for Ewen, so cant see them doing the hard riding for Gilbert either.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #6 on: August 27, 2020, 06:31 »
    But - with the yellow jersey at stake, it appears more likely than if this stage were in the middle week
    You have a very good point there. Everyone will want yellow.
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #7 on: August 29, 2020, 21:46 »
    On what was an unexpectedly tough opening day of the Tour de France, a suitably tough rider was victorious — Alexander Kristoff  #uae
    Kristoff has made a career out of winning races that prove too arduous for his fellow-sprinters, and today was a typical victory for him, emerging as the quickest in a hectic bunch finish after a stressful day of slippery roads and multiple crashes.
    Although the descents tackled were not as dangerously technical as those that have caused anger in the peloton during recent races, the greasy nature of the roads meant the effects were devastating. From about an hour into the race, it was absolute carnage.
    Remarkably, despite everything there was not a single abandonment, and no time significant losses, although John Degenkolb finished OT having selflessly sacrificed himself to get Caleb Ewan back into the bunch, both having been involved in a crash. To make matters worse for  #soudal, Philip Gilbert ended up going to hospital for checks.



    Even as the finish approached and safety neared, there was still time for one large crash, in which half the  #groupama team ended up tasting damp tarmac. Pinot cracked his knee and shoulder. Worse was Gaudu, who banged his lower back and Mollard, who got a bad knee impact.
    The next days will tell how badly hurt he is from this fall, but for now disaster seems like it might just have been averted.




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  • « Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 18:43 by LukasCPH »
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #8 on: August 30, 2020, 01:55 »
    I dont like sprint stages first up that much.  There is too much of a chance of some random in yellow ...

    But I really liked this result.  Kristoff in yellow is just fitting !!!


    The stage itself - carnage is a good way to put it.  We had a discussion in the chat about neutralising the race, and I thought then and still think it was a good idea.    Yes that is a hard call, but if the riders think it is too dangerous, its their lives and careers at stake.

    There was really not much to be gained by racing at that point.  The break was caught and it was extremely likely to be a bunch sprint anyway.  In situations like that, its not just one rider who crashes ... he will take out a bunch of others whos Tour could be ended, and there is really not much you can do about it.  Its just dumb luck.

    So yeah - not much sympathy for Lopez (though I am glad he was
     not hurt)
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #9 on: August 31, 2020, 11:21 »
    Stage 2 didn't quite deliver the expected (well, desired) spectactle right from the gun, but the final was quite entertaining at least.



    with Hirschi coming pretty close to beating Balaphilippe:



    #ef Dani Martinez lost a couple of minutes after two crashes, so he's unlikely to be still a factor in GC, and the team will focus on Uran and Higuita instead. #bora Kämna came in 10 minutes behind. Also #uae Aru, #ccc Zakarin and #ntt Pozzovivo lost some time, but probably not too unexpected. Also #ef Tejay - but I guess not even NBC was surprised about that?!

    Today looks likely to be a sprint stage, but the start is pretty bumpy, and there's some strong wind later on (although mainly headwind, unfortunately). It could have been another good stage for #rainbow Mads Pedersen, but #trek seems to have decided to rotate their sprinters again, and (according to pre-race interviews) goes for Edward Theuns today.
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    Re: Stage 1-3: Grand Depart Nice
    « Reply #10 on: August 31, 2020, 13:59 »
    I almost forgot that I initially wanted to go to Nice for the (original) start, by the way. Looks like Mrs Kwiatkowska got my hotel room instead :lol

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