Tour de Yorkshire 2017 – Stage 1 preview
By David Hunter
Bridlington – Scarborough 173km
The race begins with an old favourite, the climb of Robin Hood’s Bay.
This is similar to the final stage of last year, but it is much easier. The riders have to deal with two categorised climbs in the closing 55km, but this is still a less complicated stage than last year.
The two important climbs are:-
Goathland 1.3km at 9.7%.
Robin Hood’s Bay 1.5km at 10.3%.
I’m sure that most will remember Robin Hood’s Bay, it stuck in my memory. It’s a 5 minute effort, up some brutally steep slopes. It crests with 28km remaining, that means we are bound to see some attacks, but will they stay away?
Orica, Sky and Jumbo have all brought fast sprinters to this race. Not only can they all sprint, but they can also climb. Even if they get gapped on the climb, it should be possible to rejoin the group as they head to Scarborough. This is stage that looks like a reduced bunch sprint to me.
The end to the stage is nice and easy, the organisers are kind to the peloton in Scarborough. Once inside the final 3km, it’s time for the sprint trains to get organised. They have time to get into formation for a fast finish to the opening stage.
It will be cold, but should stay dry for the bunch. With only light wind, the weather shouldn’t have an impact on the stage.
Caleb Ewan – the little Aussie is ideal for a race like this. He climbs much better than most sprinters, being very small is a huge help. I don’t think he’ll have any trouble with the climbs and he’ll have a few men for the sprint. With only six men, don’t expect Orica to over-commit too early in the stage, they need to save three men for the closing kilometres.
Danny Van Poppel – after a classics campaign dedicated to helping teammates, the Dutchman gets his reward in Yorkshire. He is very powerful and should be able to force his way up the climbs. Sky will look to control the race as they are on home soil. They would be delighted if their sprinter could take the win.
Dylan Groenewegen – the Dutch sprinter won a very hard day in the 2016 Tour of Britain, that stage had more climbing than this one. Despite some great performances, he hasn’t taken a win yet in 2017. I feel some pressure on his shoulders.
Nacer Bouhanni – love that Bouhanni is here. After a poor result in GP Denain, he’ll be ready to go. Of all the sprinters, I think Bouhanni is the most likely to be dropped. He can struggle with steep climbs.
Adam Blythe – the British champion will be looking forward to showing off his jersey. On home roads, he will be super motivated to deliver a big result for Aqua Blue. A good climber, I expect him to be in the sprint and fighting for the win.
Brenton Jones – the Aussie now rides with the British continental team, JLT Condor. He has started the season in fine form and has a great chance of making the podium. That would be a huge result for the British outfit.
Enrique Sanz – the former Movistar man is now riding for Team Raleigh. After starting the season in fine form, a top 5 result would be huge for the small team.
The first win of the season for Dylan Groenewegen.
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