Cycling: Get ready for Massif Serge….

Well we’re still hurting after our Michael Matthews/Greg Van Avermaet game of eeny-meany-miney-mo for Stage 14, finished on meany and not mo, with our pick of GVA pipped by Matthews.  If only you could back the dual-forecast in cycling.

It will be a surprise if either rider features at the end of Stage 15.  This promises to be an interesting stage with two stiff category 1 climbs, one near the start and one near the end, sandwiching a long and undulating ride across the plateau of the Massif Centrale at challenging and consistently high altitudes all day, which could catch a few riders out.

Team Sky are back in yellow, and will probably be happy to let this one go to a breakaway, with a massive couple of days in he Alps looming large in midweek.  The stiff climbs should ensure that only competent climbers need apply for this breakaway.

Warren Barguil should be the first name on the list as he is likely to be active defending the King of the Mountains points, and with a win and a narrow second already to his name he could be a factor again.

Dimension Data’s Steve Cummings is again fancied, but he looked spent when giving it his all in a failed breakaway a few days ago and may need more time to recover before going again.

We prefer his teammate Serge Pauwels.  He is an excellent climber, and was in the yellow jersey group 2 days ago until Froome applied the screw late on, but his presence in a 20 man group of the elite suggests he will be very competitive in a less elite breakaway group.  This looks made for him, with a stiff early climb to allow him to make a break, and the stiff late climb giving a launch pad with which to leave the break.

Lilian Calmejane, Jarlinson Pantano and Tiesj Benoot complete the list of likely suspects for a stage like this.  But its the Belgian Pouwels who gets our firm vote.

Recommendation:  To Win Stage 15, Serge Pouwels, 1pt win, 40/1 Betfred, Totesport

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