After five days the Tour De France General Classification kicks off in earnest on Stage 6 with a compelling climbing stage littered with testing climbs over a 160km jagged profile.
As the quest for yellow hits the Vosges region in France the main players will be on high alert as there is always the potential to lose serious time if on a bad day. The iconic La Planche climb finishes off a day with seven categorized climbs and it will test the legs of all pretenders to the throne.
Whether its suited to the power climbers is debatable but you can be sure that there will be real quality to the fore come the finale and the gruelling 24% gradient at the end.
Race favourite Egan Bernal heads the betting at 3/1 and is an incredible talent. Whether hes going to want to show his hand this early is debatable, we think he’ll mark and stay close but not necessarily go gung-ho.
Thibaut Pinot and Nairo Quintana are sure to have a say, while current Yellow Jersey holder Julian Alaphillipe will go all out to try and maintain the race lead and should enjoy the steep ascents.
However our main pick for the stage win is Adam Yates; who has earmarked this stage as his best chance of victory; with the Bury native a rock solid option. Having lived in the region and used these roads as the basis for training Yates will have his Mitchelton-Scott team going all out to ensure he arrives in the shake up.
Having won the Mountains Classification in the Vuelta a Andalucía, Yates is working his way back to his best following injury. His Giro D’Italia participation will have put him right for a good tilt here and his naturally aggressive style may see him go for the win on a day when many will be happy to wheel-suck.
Dan Martin is another to seriously consider given his superb ability to kick up the most challenging vertical and at 22/1 will have his fair share of supporters. The Irishman won on a steep final climb early in last year’s Tour and is good enough to stay with the main contenders, aggressive enough to go for the win, and just weak enough as a GC contender to be allowed to get away, within reason.
You cannot win a Grand Tour in the first week but you can certainly lose one and any sign of weakness will be preyed upon by the peloton, and this will be a day when we get the first indication of who is the wheat and who is the chaff…
Adam Yates to win Stage 6 of the Tour De France, 1pt win, 10/1 generally available
Dan Martin, to win Stage 6 of the TdF, 0.5pts each way, 22/1 Paddy Power
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