Primus Roglic does not consider himself the favorite for this tour. A trick to put the weight of the race on Tadej Pogacar and his buddies?
Jose de Coeur: “He won, but Roglic was the man of the tour last year. Is there a difference now? They are just as far away.”
“One is not more preferable than the other. It does not mean that Pogacar now has an advantage due to its overall win last year.”
“There are 3 teams that are able to control the peloton and that’s enough not to see much in the yellow fight,” suggests Michelle Wittes.
“Unless one of these teams changes course and chooses guerrilla warfare. Then I think of Ineos Grenadiers: they can put Geraint Thomas with the Slovenes and attack Richard Carapaz. That would be fun.”
“Carapaz can and dare to do it. He did it at the Vuelta last year,” José de Coeur recalls. “We’re talking about two big names, but Ineos could play an important role.”
With Geraint Thomas, the British had a previous winner in their ranks. “With two time trials on this course, you might think he had an advantage, but his time trials in Romandi (third place) and Dauphini (10th) weren’t enough for me,” says our commentator.
Michel Wittes gives Roglic an edge in the chronoes, warns Jose de Coeur: “If the Pogacar is the best in the first trial, you will face a stressful situation.”
“Realize it again at the last trial on the penultimate day: they will all be afraid of it. If it should happen there again, it would be dangerous.”
The commentary duo also paid attention to Movistar, who has plenty of iron in the fire with Miguel Angel Lopez, Enric Mas, Alejandro Valverde and Marc Soler.
“It seems to match,” Michelle Wittes says of crowd leaders. “They know where they are, provided the old one (Valverde) does his job for once.”
“He’s got it for Mas, but I’ve seen him do nice things to Lopez at Dauphiné. He clicks better than Nairo Quintana.”
Jose de Coeur does not rule out a “strange tour”. “We’re expecting a big fight between Jumbo-Visma and the Emirates, but make sure you don’t look at each other along the way.”
Michelle Yates contradicts this: “I don’t think it’s going to be a big fight between Jumbo Visa and the UAE.”
“They would become natural allies knowing that Movistar and Astana would pick the days when they were allies and would want to push someone to lose. Then I see the Slovenes play friends along the way and make things right for each other.”