Adam Yates’ Tour de France stage-by-stage guide

Adam Yates

Adam Yates’ best Grand Tour finish is fourth at the 2016 Tour de France

This year’s Tour de France, which begins on Saturday in Brussels, will be Adam Yates’ fourth.

The British rider’s best finish to date is fourth in 2016, when he won the white jersey as best young rider in the race.

The 26-year-old is leading the Mitchelton-Scott team at the 106th edition of the three-week race and he’s given BBC Sport his insight into each of the 21 stages.

This page will up updated throughout the Tour with the winner and brief report after each stage.

Saturday, 6 July – Stage 1: Brussels – Brussels, 194.5km

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Brussels was chosen for the Grand Depart to mark the 50th anniversary of five-time joint-record champion Eddy Merckx’s first title

It doesn’t matter what the parcours is, the first day of the Tour de France is always stressful. For everyone. We may see a bit of early action for the first mountains jersey, perhaps among smaller teams looking to get on the podium for the king of the mountains jersey. But there’s just too many good sprinters, and too much at stake for it to finish in anything other than a bunch sprint, especially knowing the winner takes the coveted yellow jersey.

Rider to watch: Dylan Groenewegen – the 26-year-old Dutchman has won three Tour stages and is one of the best sprinters in the world right now.

Sunday, 7 July – Stage 2: Brussels, 27.6km team time trial

I don’t think you can go anything but full gas in a team time trial. We saw last year over a minute and a half separated the general classification contenders on the TTT – that’s a lot of ground to make up before you even get through the opening weekend.

I don’t see the margins being as big this year, mainly because it’s a little bit shorter and not as technical. We have a great team for this discipline at Mitchelton-Scott and expect to be among the best, and hopefully I can gain some time on a couple of my main GC rivals.

Team to watch: Team Ineos – the former Team Sky squad looks super strong on paper.

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Geraint Thomas’ Team Ineos never managed to win a Tour team time trial during their years as Team Sky

Monday, 8 July – Stage 3: Binche – Epernay, 211km

The first of quite a number of days over 200km on this year’s Tour. The climbs are towards the back end, but they are short and punchy.

It’ll bring a few extra names into the mix that perhaps wouldn’t fancy themselves on a pure sprint day, but I also wouldn’t discount the lighter sprinters either. Other than staying safe, I don’t think there’s a lot to gain for GC riders; there’s plenty of better opportunities for that coming up.

Rider to watch: Julien Alaphilippe – the Frenchman comes into the race as the number one ranked rider in the world. He’s a puncheur – a rider who revels in hills like these and has a decent kick.

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The third stage ends in the heart of the Champagne region as the race returns to Epernay for the first time since 1963

Tuesday, 9 July – Stage 4: Reims – Nancy, 213.5km

A second consecutive long day and probably another one for the sprinters. You might see someone trying to use the final climb to launch an attack, but there’s 15km still to race and a lot of still highly motivated and fresh sprint teams that I suspect would chase it down.

Rider to watch: Elia Viviani – the Italian is racing in only his second Tour de France but has won five stages at the Giro d’Italia and three at the Vuelta a Espana.

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Time bonuses of 10, six and four seconds are given to the first three riders, while an intermediate sprint at 147km offers three-, two- and one-second bonuses

Wednesday, 10 July – Stage 5: Saint-Die-des-Vosges – Colmar, 175.5km

The parcours lends itself to a breakaway or, if the bunch is motivated, a reduced kick to the line. It’s hilly but I don’t suspect a day to separate the general classification riders in terms of form, but you have to be wary of positioning the whole day to minimise the risk of any bad luck.

There’ll still be a few teams with riders in contention to take the yellow jersey today before the GC players start to make a bigger impact.

Rider to watch: Peter Sagan – the three-time world champion has won the Tour’s green points jersey a record-equalling six times and he excels on these up and down days.

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Australian Heinrich Haussler broke clear to win a rain-swept ride into Colmar on Stage 13 of the 2009 race

Thursday, 11 July – Stage 6: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.5km

The first mountain-top finish and the first real day for the GC riders to get involved. It’s always good to have a climbing hit out early on and it also starts to set up a more settled and ordered bunch for the days following.

Chris Froome famously won atop La Planche des Belles Filles in 2012 to put Bradley Wiggins into the yellow jersey and Wiggins went on to become the first Briton to win the race. I know this area well from when I raced for CC Etupes and lived in France. It’s a tricky day, but I won’t give too much away – we’ll see who has done their homework. But I will certainly be giving it a go.

Rider to watch: Adam Yates – I have to back myself because I love these sorts of days in the mountains.

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La Planche des Belle Filles made its debut at the Tour in 2012

Friday, 12 July – Stage 7: Belfort – Chalon-sur-Saone, 230km

The longest day of the Tour. Even if it’s a GC team that holds the jersey on the start line, this early on in the race, there won’t be a lot of motivation for them to control for 230km, especially if there’s some big gaps from yesterday and those riders make it into the break.

If the sprint teams want another opportunity, they’ll have to do the work for it.

Rider to watch: Dylan Groenewegen – he won back-to-back stages on last year’s Tour and I reckon he could at least match that this year.

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French favourite Thibaut Pinot won his first stage at the Tour in 2012 when it departed from Belfort

Saturday, 13 July – Stage 8: Macon – Saint-Etienne, 200km

Today is one of those leg-zapping days. It has a breakaway written all over it. There are no category one climbs, but we’re approaching 3,800 metres of climbing. It’s too hard for the sprint teams to control.

It’s a day that is suited to those hard, hilly one-day Classics specialists. For the GC game, it’s a day just to be attentive. But I would not be surprised to see the leader’s jersey change hands today.

Rider to watch: Greg van Avermaet – the 2016 Olympic and Tour de Yorkshire champion has won numerous one-day Classics, such as Paris-Roubaix, and took his his second Tour stage in 2017 after a long breakaway.

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Saint-Etienne, the capital of the Loire department, has hosted 22 stage finishes since 1950

Sunday, 14 July – Stage 9: Saint-Etienne – Brioude, 217.5km

Another day for the opportunist break. With the first uncategorised climb and the following steep category one climb, Mur d’Aurec-sur-Loire, it really does lend itself to a strong breakaway getting up the road.

My objective will be to save as much energy as possible and it’s a great chance for my team-mates to look for a stage win.

Rider to watch: Matteo Trentin – my Mitchelton-Scott team-mate has won two Tour stages, the first of which came after he beat his fellow breakaway riders in the sprint for the line.

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Romain Bardet will hope to give France a Bastille Day stage winner in his hometown

Monday, 15 July – Stage 10: Saint-Flour – Albi, 217.5km

It’s Monday, isn’t today a rest day!? No! I think the playbook for today will depend on what has happened so far. There will be some motivated for the breakaway, no question, but will there be sprint teams still looking for a win?

It’s a lot nicer to get to the first rest day with some success, and if you don’t have a GC rider, that comes in the form of a stage win. So, for me, the break has little chance.

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Peter Sagan won the last stage to finish in Albi in 2013

Tuesday, 16 July – Rest day

I like to keep things simple on the rest day. Lie in, easy spin in the morning, relax and massage in the afternoon. I will pencil in a time to talk with my head directeur sportif Matt White sometime in the day and go through some plans for the second week of racing.

We have a plan in place but a lot can change with 10 days of racing done already, which is why I’ll wait until this day to update you all with my thoughts on how I see the second half of the race developing.

It’s also a good opportunity to switch off as much as possible from the Tour circus, so after lunch I will just try to have some time alone or may just go and grab a coffee.

Wednesday, 17 July – Stage 11: Albi – Toulouse, 167km

Adam’s guide to the final 10 stages will appear here after stage 10.

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Mark Cavendish sprinted to his second Tour de France stage win in Toulouse in 2008

Thursday, 18 July – Stage 12: Toulouse – Bagneres-de-Bigorre, 209.5km

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Ireland’s Dan Martin outsprinted Jakob Fuglsang to win the last time Bagneres-de-Bigorre was used as a stage finish in 2013

Friday, 19 July – Stage 13: Pau, 27.2km – time trial

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Bernard Hinault won the only other individual time trial in Pau, en route to this third Tour triumph in 1981

Saturday, 20 July – Stage 14: Tarbes – Tourmalet, 117.5km

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First ascended in 1910, the legendary Tourmalet has been visited 82 times by the race, more than any other pass

Sunday, 21 July – Stage 15: Limoux – Foix Prat d’Albis

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Limoux has hosted the Tour twice before in 2011 and 2012

Monday, 22 July – Rest day

Tuesday, 23 July – Stage 16: Nimes – Nimes, 177km

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The Vuelta a Espana started in Nimes in 2017

Wednesday, 24 July – Stage 17: Pont du Gard – Gap, 200km

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The last three stages in to Gap ended with solo wins for Thor Hushovd (2011), Rui Costa (2013) and Ruben Plaza (2015)

Thursday, 25 July – Stage 18: Embrun – Valloire, 208km

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Chris Froome won the climbing time trial stage that started in Embrun in the 2013 Tour

Friday, 26 July – Stage 19: Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne – Tignes, 126.5km

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Michael Rasmussen won in Tignes in 2007 before being withdrawn by the Rabobank team while leading the race

Saturday, 27 July – Stage 20: Albertville – Val Thorens, 130km

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Colombian Nelson Rodriguez climbed to victory in the only other finish on Val Thorens in 1994

Sunday, 28 July – Stage 21: Rambouillet – Paris Champs-Elysees, 128km

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Mark Cavendish won the sprint finish in Paris for four consecutive years between 2009-2012

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/48851221

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