Cycling: Time for Calm thinking…

A benign stage 13 fell to the omnipresent short priced favourite Peter Sagan.  Today’s stage 14 is much more challenging for cyclists and punters alike.

We should expect a breakaway, there is little incentive for teams to chase it down, but some truly mixed terrain makes calling the break difficult. It is likely to form in the gently rolling early kms, but the key to success will be handling the punchy climbs in the second half of the stage.

The final 10% incline is a real sting in the tail and may see some General Classification action, albeit after a break has already taken the stage.

Julian Alaphilippe is the obvious starting point as he will want to consolidate his King Of The Mountains lead and is renowned on punchy climbs like the conclusion here, although 10/3 is a pretty skinny price.

We’ll look at a couple of options.  Lilian Calmejane won a stage on the Tour last year and has already been very active this year.  He looks likely to try and make the early break.  He is a reasonable climber although will not want to be on the last ascent with a true climber.

He won last year by making a long break out of an early breakaway group, a tactic that worked for Steve Cummings when winning at this finish a few years ago.

If a true climber can make the early break, then Rafal Majka looks like the prime choice, but he may now wait for the Pyrenees.

Instead we will risk a few pennies on Dimension Data’s Serge Pauwels.  He was a factor in many high mountain stages last year, and whilst generally active again this year hasn’t had the legs on the bigger climbs to see it through.

This more rolling terrain may suit him more than the big Alps and he is a big price for a regular breakaway artist riding for a team that will have likely targeted this stage after success here with Cummings.

Recommendation:  To win Stage 14 of the Tour de France,

Lilian Calmejane,  0.5pts each way, 28/1 generally available 

Serge Pauwels, 0.5pts each way, 80/1 Betfred.

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