The organizers of the Tour de France this week revealed the route the race will take next year. This gives ample time for teams to prepare and tells us quite a bit. The French are desperate for a winner and with the cyclists they have they are making home advantage count by selecting a route to suit their strengths. They keep trying to come up with a route to suit their own ,but it isn't going to happen.
No team time trial which is a first for many years and the reason behind it is the French contenders don't have a strong team trialing team. This will definitely hamper a few of the overall contenders for the title as this is a strong area in teams like Ineos.
The Tour will include 29 categorized mountain climbs, 6 mountain top finishes and a time trial on you guessed it Thibaut Pinot's home patch where he lives and trains. They are weighting this tour as much as thy can to the riding styles of Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe. They like to ride at the front and make aggressive moves and this course may or may not help them. What is surprising is there are only 9 flat stages next year and the route doesn't really stray away from the mountains which you would think is music to the ears of Chris Froome and Egan Bernal. source source Over the final kilometer it gets much steeper.
The funny thing is the time trial is a 36 km mountain climb up the Planche des Belle Filles and if the organisers are banking on Pinot or Alaphilippe winning that they could already be too far behind the other contenders. I honestly think there is nothing they can do to create an advantage as the other contenders are just that much stronger. Maybe a Pinot or Alaphilippe would be much better having a stronger team around them and they are looking at this in the wrong way.
I have my doubts as other teams are much stronger in supporting the overall contenders and with 6 mountain top finishes the race could be over fairly quickly as Ineos have Chris Froome and last years winner Egan Bernal racing together again. Thomas I am not sure if he will be with them or another team by then but honestly don't think he is good enough to challenge even though he did win the race a couple of years ago.
Froome will be desperate to do well after missing out this years race through injury and Bergnal will be one year older and stronger than last year. With a strong team backing these two the mountain top finishes have played into their hands as they will bury Pinot and Alaphilippe by using team work. It doesn't seem like anyone can contend with them and I see the Tour making a big mistake and has handed the title to Ineos yet again.
Vincenzo Nibali has said he will target the Giro d' Italia that year and the Olympic road race and skip the Tour de France altogether. It will be interesting to see who pulls out because of the Olympics or if they will do both.