Well we had today earmarked for Spain’s Omar Fraile, so it was with some frustration that we watched him win yesterday!! That was one that got away.
Yesterday’s Stage was notable for the breakaway composition being determined by the luck of early positioning when the bunch was broken up by crosswinds.
That helps today’s analysis as a number of regular breakaway climbers ended up having the day off in the dawdling peloton. These should be our focus.
The long category 1 climb 40kms from the finish looks a launchpad for a decent climber to splinter any breakaway group, and with the main GC contenders likely to enjoy another lazy day, then anyone clear off the top of that climb could stay away on the long descent.
A shortlist of Rafal Majka, Mikel Nieve, Serge Pauwels, Guillaume Martin, Bauke Mollema and Michael Valgren is likely to be pretty competitive, all of whom had a quiet day yesterday.
Martin has a white jersey aspiration so may play the long game and may preserve energy, whilst both Majka and Nieve may be too much the pure climber for this stage’s elongated descent and finish.
Having picked Pauwels yesterday we cannot risk a Fraile-like wrong day fiasco and he has to make the ticket and looks certain to be in the break.
Mollema won a similar stage in last year’s Tour long after any yellow jersey hopes were extinguished. He makes appeal but we just pass him over for Valgren.
The Dane is a strong enough climber and a fearless descender. Team Astana won yesterday and are flexing their muscles now that Fulgsang is out of the yellow jersey running.
Recommendation: To win Stage 15 of the Tour De France:
S Pauwels, 0.5pts each way, 66/1 generally available
M Valgren, 0.5pts each way, 33/1 Boylesports
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