Cycling: Jump on the Van…

Stage 14 of the Tour de France sees the action calm down with a predominantly flat stage.  That has been all systems go for multi-stage winner Marcel Kittel, but there are reasons to think not on this occasion.

Two slightly testing Category 3 climbs in the latter half of the stage may not be enough to distance Kittel, but the final 600m of this stage has a roughly 9% gradient – and that type of kick up does not suit the huge German.

The finish is a bit like a shorter version of the Stage 3 finale which saw the now absent Peter Sagan hold off Michael Matthews, Dan Martin and Greg Van Avermaet.  All 3 of those placed riders will be eyeing up this stage.

The finish may not be severe enough or long enough for Dan Martin, although his price is a bit too dismissive at around 80/1 and will tempt some.

It is more likely though that the finish will feature Matthews and Van Avermaet.  Whilst the Aussie Matthews has looked very active during the Tour, Van Avermaet is an absolute specialist at these kind of stages, and indeed has won before at this very finish.

He is favourite to win the stage, but this is a good chance to replenish some cash reserves before another interesting Sunday stage.

Recommendation:  To win Stage 14, Greg Van Avermaet, 1pt win, 7/2 generally available

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