Typically I’m not much in to the sprint stages in the [Tour de France][tdf] races, actually in any race. They follow a predictable path.
1. There is a breakaway
2. It’s caught in the last few km leaving everyone to wonder why it even happened
3. Sprint to the finish and [Cavendish][cav] takes it
At least that’s how it’s happened in the past. I don’t think that the first 2 points will change this year, but who is going to take the bunch sprints? I think it’s going to be Peter Sagan vs Mark Cavendish for the sprints.
If I had to go all in on someone it would be [Peter Sagan][sagan] this year. He has simply been on fire and that [Liquigas-Cannondale][liq] lead out train is finely tuned. It seems to be in much better shape than the lead out train of [Sky][sky]. Watching Sagan in the [Amgen Tour of California][atoc] was awesome. He road himself back in to the peleton after wheel changes, and simply dominated the whole field. Then add his stellar performance in the [Tour de Suisse][tds] prologue, where [he won by 4 seconds][tds1] over former World Time Trial champ [Fabian Cancellara][fb], and you simply realize he is in top shape this season.
Sagan is going to be a hard one to beat this year.
[fb]: http://www.radioshacknissantrek.com/team/riders/fabian-cancellara “Fabian Cancellara”
[tds1]: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/06/race-result/tour-de-suisse-2012-prologue-results_222967 “Tour de Suisse Prologue Results”
[tds]: http://www.tourdesuisse.ch/en/ “Tour de Suisse”
[atoc]: http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ “Amgen Tour of California”
[liq]: http://www.teamliquigascannondale.com/2012/ita/main.php “Liquigas-Cannondale Cycling Team”
[sky]: http://www.teamsky.com/0,,,00+en-USS_01DBC.html “Sky|Pro Cycling”
[tdf]: http://www.letour.fr/us/index.html “Tour de France”
[cav]: http://www.teamsky.com/profile/0,27291,17543_7408010,00.html “Mark Cavendish – Sky|Pro Cycling”
[sagan]: http://www.teamliquigascannondale.com/2012/ita/main.php?mod=scAtleti&id=22 “Peter Sagan – Liquigas-Cannondale”