I don’t think anyone will disagree with us that the 2010 Tour de France has been very entertaining and has shown cycling off in the best way possible. It has had it’s usual sprint finishes, mountain top battles, some unsporting behaviour combined with mechanical misfortune and pure grit from a certain Mr Voigt.

We’re now at the ‘7 o’clock’ stages of the Tour and today is stage 17 – a wet and miserable day has greeted the riders after some of the hottest conditions on the way through the Pyrenees.

Stage 17:

Being called by many ‘the pivotal day’ this is the final mountains day and where AC and Schleck will have to ride their legs off in order to gain enough time to sit content on the run in to Paris.

The scenarios are:

1. AC attacks Schleck and with his small margin of 8 seconds gains a fewmore so that he can happily hold onto Yellow in Paris. His TT’ing is better than Schleck so this ‘should’ work.

2. Schleck attacks and manages to drop AC on the final climb. He’ll need some real guts to do this and he’ll also have to hope that AC doesn’t destroy him on the TT.

3. The weather turns dreadful, a Footon rider gets away and keeps Yellow to Paris.

So 3 is pushing it a bit, the first two are the most likely outcomes and we’re currently glued to our screens watching the action unfold.

Stage 18:

An easy day? Maybe for the Pro’s even the office races agree that holding onto a fast moving peloton takes more muscle than we all have together!

It’s a 125mile stage from Salies de Bearn to Bordeaux and will hopefully favour Cavendish in the final sprint.

Stage 19 (The TT):

A final flourish from the strong men?

The GC riders will be hoping to have enough to put a good time in here, it’s surprising how much time you can loose in a TT and this one being 52km (just over 32miles) we could see some surprises.

We haven’t seen Wiggins for a while, in the hills he’s struggled and if there’s one thing he’s good at it’s time trialling.

Rolling terrain will make sure that anyone feeling slightly off will suffer!

We’ll hedge our bets with Wiggins, Cancellara and AC doing well on this.

Stage 20 (They’ve made it to Paris!):

More of a parade than stage. With the obligatory plastic glasses of Champagne on-route for the yellow jersey holder and depending on yesterdays events – the rider in yellow barring a disaster will be on the top step of the podium with the obligatory young child preparing for the mother of all team parties later that evening.

Attacks are rare and the final K’s will provide us with some of the best sprinting action you’ll ever see. The obvious favourite is Cavendish and his mighty HTC lead-out train. The width and relative steadiness of the build up laps will mean that all teams will want to have a man in there, can anyone counter HTC Columbia?

Winning here is most cyclist’s dream, Cav has done it already – let’s see him do it again please! Who are you tipping for the win and overall GC win? Let us know below:




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