OUR OFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE TOUR DE FRANCE 2015

Posted on June 26, 2015

Featuring Extensive Unrivalled Insight and Exclusive Statistics

SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. (SMS INC.) announces its official guide to the Tour de France, incorporating exclusive research data, insight and information for sports fans.

Also present is a guide of the World Tour teams and details of the riders to watch.

Furthermore, SMS INC. covers exclusive equipment statistics, unavailable anywhere else. For example, the leading research firm can reveal that 96.5% of international sportive riders in 2014 follow the Tour de France. Italy was the only country where another race (Giro d’Italia) was more popular.

The Tour runs for three weeks, during which the riders cover 3360km in a rough circuit of France – although this year it starts in The Netherlands. It is divided into 21 days of racing, with each day’s ‘stage’ lasting up to six hours and covering up to 220km. Each stage has its own winner and offers points for the first 15 riders across the finish line and also halfway through each stage for both the Green and Polka Dot Jersey.

THE FAMOUS JERSEYS: EXPLAINED

tdf-UPDATED-10-7-2015

THE RACE ROUTE

map
Source: Tour de France 2015

KEY STAGES: EXPLAINED

6th July, Monday – Anvers / Huy 159.5 km

This is a key stage for the Sprinters and the ‘Hard’ men of the peloton as this is the finish of one of the toughest One Day Races in Belgium; the Flèche-Wallonne. The riders will have to ride up The Mur de Huy, an iconic climb, and a tough 1,300 metres with an average gradient of 9.3%, with the steepest part being 26%.

7th July, Tuesday – Seraing / Cambrai 221.5 km

Also in Belgium, the ‘Hard’ men have the chance to ride through the seven Pavé Secteurs (old cobbled roads) 13 km in total. If the weather is bad this will really shake things up for the peloton and the GC (General Classification – The Yellow Jersey). Teams will have to try hard to keep their team leader up at the front avoiding crashes and punctures. This is where the Domestique (riders who work for the benefit of their team, protecting them) will have to be alert and potentially sacrifice themselves for their leader.

23rd July, Thursday – Gap / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 186.5 km

After coming through the Pyrenees and the Massif Central; all the GC riders will have just three more days in the mountains to try and either gain the overall lead or attack the Yellow Jersey. This stage takes the remaining peloton riders up four major climbs along the Col de Glandon – a mere 46.5 km in length – with an elevation of 1,924 metres. However this is not the finish – which includes a technical descent in the last 20km with a steep downhill gradient through the Pontamafrey-Pascal. With 15km to go the riders have to circumvent Les Lacets de Montvernier with its 8% gradient and 18 hairpin bends, then a downhill run of around 8km to the finish line. A big test for all riders, this could have a huge impact on the Yellow and the King of the Mountains Jerseys.

25th July, Saturday – Modane Valfréjus / Alpe d’Huez 110.5 km

This is the last chance for any rider to make up any time differences or gain points for the King of the Mountains title. L’Alpe d’Huez is not the hardest or steepest climb, but it has legendary status, as there have been some major battles up this climb over the years, including the famous LeMond versus Hinault battle in 1986.

Before the riders get to this climb, they have to battle both the Col du Télégraphe at 1,556m then the Col du Galibier at 2,645m with a 40km run to the foot of L’Alpe d’Huez. This has an average gradient of 8.4% and is packed with drama from the 21 hairpin bends. If the Yellow Jersey has not yet been decided, expect a showdown in the last 10 km as the GC contenders fight it out in this attacking stage.

26th July, Sunday – Sèvres – Grand Paris Seine Ouest / Paris Champs-Élysées 109.5 km

The Final stage is all about the sprint to win on the Champs-Élysées – crossing the line, this might be all that the sprinter gets remembered for.

THE FAVOURITES

yellow

1 – Chris Froome (GBR)
2 – Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
3 – Alberto Contador (ESP)

The 2013 winner, Chris Froome is looking to make up for what was a poor 2014 Tour. Many are forecasting that he will take the GC and win a few stages along the way. He is strong in the ITT and excels in the mountains. Arguably Sky is the best team and Froome has the best riders to help him all the way to Paris. He has also just won the Critérium du Dauphiné with an impressive 2 stage wins along the way.

Nibali had a relatively easy ride to Paris in 2014. Yes, he was great on the pavé sections and yes, he climbed well but with Froome and Contador crashing out early in week one, he was not really pressured and challenged. That should be different this year.

Having won the Giro d’Italia as recently as May 2015, the main question is whether Alberto Contador has enough time to recover fully. Without doubt Contador is one of the best riders we have seen in the current peloton, so graceful to watch when he is climbing, and he should be able to stay with Froome and Nibali for the duration of the Tour.

green

1 – Mark Cavendish (GBR)
2 – Peter Sagan (SVK)
3 – Nacer Bouhanni (FRA)

Like Froome, Cavendish has a point to prove after crashing out in the very first stage in 2014. He will be hungrier than ever to win sprint stages and the Green Jersey. Plenty of experts expect him to win on the Champs-Élysées on the final day to make his tally of victories on the final leg in Paris to five.

Sagan has much to prove following a big money move to a team that demands him to win almost every time he races. However he won two stages at the Tour of California this year. Sagan doesn’t have the outright speed of Cavendish, but should win a stage this year.

Bouhanni is a true powerhouse of a sprinter and the French darling of the peloton. When he has form he is hard to beat, but always seems to come up short against Cavendish. Expect him to win a stage and gain regular points in the race for the Green Jersey.

polka-dot

1 – Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP)
2 – Chris Froome (GBR)
3 – Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)

The King of the Mountain title is one that the best climbers would like to have, and this year the contest should be almost as exciting as the overall GC.

Rodriguez is a great climber and very well suited to the shorter punchier climbs like The Mur de Huy in the first week. This is where Rodriguez could shine and hold on when the climbs are longer in the second and third weeks.

Froome and Nibali will win stages so will gain points in this competition but the Polka Dot Jersey will be secondary to their overall aim.

white

1 – Romain Bardet (FRA)
2 – Michał Kwiatkowski (POL)
3 – Simon Yates (GBR)

The Tour de France always highlights the key young riders, and in 2014 Bardet held the Jersey for five stages but ultimately lost it and eventually finished 2nd in this competition and 6th in the GC. He may be unlikely to win any stages but will finish consistently enough be a serious competitor for the White Jersey.

The current World Road Race Champion, Kwiatkowski held the White Jersey for two stages in 2014 and finished in 28th in the GC. Plenty are predicting that he will win a stage on the lower slopes and will consistently finish well but ultimately won’t be able to stay with Bardet on the steeper climbs.

Yates is a young British rider who has the potential to become a future Tour winner. At 22 years old Simon and his twin brother Adam are both riding a three week tour for the first time, so may struggle in the last week, but expect a great deal from them both in the future.

THE TEAMS AND RIDERS TO WATCH

Two levels of teams will ride the Tour de France. There are 10 World Tour Cycling Teams – these are top tier cycling’s equivalent of Premier League status in football, consisting of the elite riders. The next level down, second tier teams are called The Pro Continental Teams. Below are key fast facts on the World Tour Cycling teams.
Astana Pro Team

astana

Bikes – Specialized
Used by three Teams in the Tour or 13.6% of the peloton
Groupset – Campagnolo
Helmets – Specialized
Clothing – MOA

Riders to watch – Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Can he defend his title? No rider has achieved this since Miguel Indurain in 1995(we have excluded the Lance Armstrong era). Lars Boom (NED) a previous stage five winner in 2014, Boom could have a chance on the cobbled stages.

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team

cannondale-garmin

Bikes – Cannondale
Groupset – Shimano
Used by 16 Teams in the TdF or 73% of the peloton
Helmets – POC
Clothing – Castelli

Riders to watch – Dan Martin (IRL) a long shot for the GC but a real favourite for a stage win, and he can climb and always attempts to get in the breakaway. Andrew Talansky (USA) won the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2014 and finished 10th in the TdF in 2013. Andrew is an outsider for a top-5 finish in the GC.

Lotto-Soudal

lotto

Bikes – Ridley
Groupset – Campagnolo
Used by 5 Teams in the TdF or 23% of the peloton
Helmets – Lazer
Clothing – Vermarc

Riders to watch – André Greipel (GER) will win stages in the final sprint but having ridden part of the Giro D’Italia, he might not be in race shape. He has won five stages over the last seven years at the Tour de France. Adam Hansen (AUS) is the type of rider that is always getting on breakaways but in the TdF he hasn’t managed to turn these in to stage wins. However, Hansen is one of the few riders that regularly rides all three grand tours every season.

Movistar Team

movistar

Bikes – Canyon
Used by 2 Teams in the TdF or 9% of the peloton
Groupset – Campagnolo
Helmets – Catlike
Clothing – Endura
Riders to watch – Nairo Quintana (COL) won the Giro in 2014 and is now focusing solely on the TdF. He should have a stage win or two and challenge for the GC if he is on good form. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) has had a fantastic start to the season, winning the Liège–Bastogne–Liège and La Flèche Wallonne and he had nine other podium finishes. Won’t challenge for the GC but should win a stage or perhaps several. Alex Dowsett (GBR) could start his first TdF. Has already won a stage in a grand tour, an Individual Time Trial in the Giro 2013, so expect him to do well in the ITT.

Etixx-Quickstep Pro Cycling Team

ettix

Bikes – Specialized
Groupset – FSA/Shimano
Helmets – Specialized
Clothing – Vermarc
Used by two Teams in the TdF or 9% of the peloton

Riders to watch – Mark Cavendish (GBR) is the man to watch when it comes to the sprints having won 25 stages in his career to date. Mark has already had a great 2015 with 12 stages and race wins, a GC win in Dubai and two Points Jerseys under his belt. He will be trying to make up for crashing out on the first stage at last year’s TdF in Yorkshire, so expect three or four wins and possibly the Green Jersey.

Tony Martin (GER) has won four TdF ITT stages in his career, he is known as one of the best Time Trial riders of his generation so expect to see him challenging for many and maybe winning at least 1 stage this year. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) the current World Road Race Champion and current Amstel Gold Race Champion will be working for Cavendish in the sprints but he will be given the chance to ride for stage wins, so we could see his name at the top of a stage or two.

Orica-GreenEDGE Pro Cycling Team

orica

Bikes – Scott
Groupset – Shimano
Helmets – Scott
Used by 1 Team in the TdF or 4.5% of the peloton
Clothing – Craft

Riders to watch – Adam Yates and Simon Yates (GBR) – The Yates Twins. They could well be riding the TdF this year, they both had a great start to their careers and at 22 years old certainly have a huge future ahead of them. Could do well in the Young Riders competition (White Jersey).

Team Giant-Alpecin

giant

Bikes – Giant
Groupset – Shimano
Helmets – Giant
Clothing – Etxeondo
Used by 1 Team in the TdF or 4.5% of the peloton

Rider to watch – John Degenkolb (GER) Having won the Paris-Roubaix this year he should excel on the cobbled stages. You can’t rule out him of the sprints either. He could take over if Kittel is not on form.

Team Katusha

katusha

Bikes – Canyon
Groupset – Shimano
Helmets – Giro
Used by 2 teams in the TdF or 9% of the peloton
Clothing – Santini

Riders to watch – Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP). After a 3rd place in 2013, another podium should have been within his reach but that didn’t happen in 2014. This year Joaquim will want to put this right; a tough ask given the competition. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) could be another strong rider during the early stages over the cobbles, with victory in The Tour of Flanders this year and two stage wins at the TdF in 2014, he is a safe bet for a stage win.

Team Sky Pro Cycling

sky

Bikes – Pinarello
Groupset – Shimano
Helmets – Kask
Clothing – Rapha
Used by 1 Team in the TdF or 4.5% of the peloton

Riders to watch – Chris Froome (GBR) is the favourite for this year’s race. He will want to make up for a poor 2014 TdF. He has had a decent start to the season with an overall win at the Vuelta a Andalucía including a stage win and the points jersey, as well as stage win at the Tour de Romandie. It’s likely that he will win a few stages and the GC, as he has the best team behind him and every team mate will be riding for him.

Ian Stannard (GBR) could be an outsider for the cobbled stages, being a strong rider and he loves the ‘tougher’ races. This could be difficult to achieve as Team Sky will be clear favourites.

Tinkoff-Saxo

tinkoff

Bikes – Specialized
Groupset – Shimano
Helmets – Specialized
Used by 3 Teams in the TdF or 13.6% of the peloton
Clothing – Sportful

Riders to watch – Alberto Contador (ESP) like Froome, had a bad 2014 TdF. He is going for a Giro d’Italia and TdF double which has not been achieved since 1998. He is halfway there after winning the Giro in May. Will Alberto be able to recover after what was a hard fought race? He goes in to the race as a favourite to win stages and the GC.

Peter Sagan (SVK) has won the Green Jersey for the last three years. However in 2014 he didn’t manage to win a stage having won four previously. He has moved to a new team and has not had the best start to the year, and is reportedly under pressure to win from his team owner.

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