Hero image credit: Cycling Australia
Our resident race reporter, Glenn Te Raki, chats with media personality and Sydney Olympic Gold medallist Scott McGory ahead of the epic 2017 Tour de France.
Many of you will know Scott McGory as the host of the Chanel Nine and Foxtel cycling show – Full Cycle and more so as Gold Medal winning cyclist from the 2000 Sydney Olympics,
I was lucky to catch up with Scott and get his ‘educated’ look into this years Tour De France, who he thinks will win and why… with a few more predictions along the way.
GT – Scott, what’s you initial thoughts on this years Tour?
SM – There are two things that I feel Amaury Sport Organisation have done. Firstly they have tried to create a more unpredictable course for the Overall Classification. Fewer mountaintop finishes to give the pure climbers slightly less of an advantage. There are plenty of climbs still, but most mountain stages finish after a descent or even with some flat roads thereafter.
Also the time trials are short enough that the best GC Time Trial specialists don’t have a heavy advantage, especially in the crucial final TT. Both these points appear to make a course that gives chances to more riders, and increases unpredictability.
GT – What about the popular ‘Green Jersey’ competition?
SM – The Green Jersey doesn’t appear as straightforward as everyone has predicted. Peter Sagan is certainly the favourite however on closer inspection many of the stages offer the fastest sprinters a chance. Plus the intermediates sprints this year are predominantly placed before any hard climbs, or well after some of the tougher climbs that fall early in stages. This again gives the fastest riders a better chance of collecting points.
GT – Will we see a different ‘Points’ strategy play out this year?
SM – Last year Sagan was often the only ‘sprinter’ left in the peloton, or strong enough to make a breakaway on the days that had hard climbs early. Therefore he collected maximum points in the intermediate sprints, plus sometimes stage points on days the other fast men scored little or nothing. And on the flat days he would score at least top 5 stage points so the Kittel’s etc couldn’t get an advantage.
GT – Who do you see as Sagans’ main rival?
SM – I see Kittel as the fastest pure sprinter in the field and if his form is very good then he can challenge Sagan for Green for sure.
GT – So lets cut to the chase, who will win the ‘Maillot Jaune’?
SM – My top 3 picks for the overall are. Porte, Froome, Valverde.
For Richie to win he needs to stay close to contention but not take the lead too early. His team is not strong enough, especially in the mountains to defend the might of Sky and Movistar. In a perfect world he would replicate Cadel Evans and only take the lead in the final Time Trial.
GT – Your thoughts on Chris Froome?
SM- Froome will be hard to beat and he will certainly be better than he was in the Dauphine. But Richie has strengthened physically, and more importantly mentally in the past 2 years and I feel that he is the best rider this year.
GT – And Valverde before Quintana? Big call…
SM – Valverde is overlooked at the moment with all eyes on his teammate Nario Quintana, but this course suits him better than previous editions. He has had a stand out season and if he hasn’t left his form in the early season he can go for the podium.
GT – Well Scott, we certainly appreciate all your comments and I have to say, I personally agree with everything you a stated.
As always, good luck with Full Cycle and we look forward to some ‘special comments’ alone the journey over the next three weeks.
Keep an eye out for my daily race reports and updates, with a few more ‘special comments’ along the way.