Written by Spin Doctors at 23:45 16/6-2016|
There is a surprising wealth of sprinters lining up for Volta ao Porto that will challenge Sherlock Toll on the sprint stages.
Bryce Mueller has recently turned 25 but looks to be set to lead Fissa in the tour. A solid team with a heavily sprint focussed lead out train is a good fit with the terrain in Portugal. With the whole team signed up to race in Vejle-København it looks likely that the team will be slightly short of great shape though but Bryce looks very likely to be a competitor at the Volta, if a little short of the sort of shape that would make him a favourite for the SC. He will have to perform very well to better the two 2nd place SC finishes achieved by Florentin Escalier.
A team with a long history and plenty of palmares, Gradient Levellers have Santiago Campelo as a potential leader who has a previous 3rd place in the sprint classification. Without doubt an exceptionally fine rider with SC wins in Germany and Spain, whether he can replicate former glory having recently turned 32 remains to be seen. Though without form, the whole squad look well rested and excellently prepared. Campelo’s team have all the infrastructure they could hope for too. An interesting addition to the team is Gregório Lago who is perhaps eyeing up the mountains for a future season.
Does Pascal Desando lack the top end speed to trouble the top sprinters? In top form it seems he would be very good competition, but by our reckoning he might be saving that for another season. Some DP doping might mean he comes into his own later in the tour with a nice selection of specialised role lead outs.
He’s in the prime of his career, has top form and has a great skill mix for the Volta. Tadesse Awerson is a serious contender for overall SC victory. Some of the sprint stages in Portugal require some ability in climbs and hills and particularly on this terrain Tadesse will be serious competition for anyone. His team are excellent and with a bit of luck the SC jersey could well be his.
It is difficult to pick a leader from the line up Rigana are bringing. Tyson Fish, David Schouten and Absalón Garcilaso all look like they have the quality to secure podium places. All Rigana’s riders are excellent lead outs. Three potential captains and all riders with AV more than 45 suggest a superb team, and one that has won the SC here before – albeit 10 seasons ago. All their riders are signed up to Marseille – Nice and an injury there could really mess things up. Any teams hoping to beat Rigana will rely on better preparation, top form or some very good fortune.
When did Godo Barreiro trigger his top form? Was it for Haugesund Rundtur? If so, he will have top form for the first two sprint stages but not the last two. Stil Ostil have a team with at least one eye, if not one and a half eyes, on the time trial stages and perhaps Godo’s challenge may fade with his top form in the latter stages of the tour. Two very fine LO1s and an a great LO2 will mean Godo will be well positioned for the final kilometre and perhaps he will take care of the rest. This is another team that will be hoping to get through Marseille – Nice unscathed.
Another team where it is difficult to pick a stand out captain. Vieroslav Tkáè will probably fancy his chances on the Parade stage in Porto, Corentin Thouvenin will like the look of the all-round sprint credentials needed for Stage 4 and the hills on Stage 8. A split captaincy approach perhaps? Disagreements over captaincy aside it seems the German team look unlikely to challenge seriously for the SC, but will clearly stand a good chance of stage honours. Hanneken Elssen will challenge Günther Loiterek and Kyle Wyles for the most knackered rider in the peloton by the end of the tour.
Julian Lundberg is a former SC winner though his lead out train from that triumph have moved on, or taken up work as trainers and their replacements for this edition look less impressive in a team that may be in transition. Aleksander Hetland and Henry Vågen in particular are better hill helpers than lead outs and might be left fighting over the water bottles!
TJ Banik OKD
Three tour jerseys have already been won by Dican Flórián who will have the tour veteran Cyrus Wyatt to look to for advice. A solid team with solid chances. They might have been hoping for windier stages, and can expect to perform better on the flatter sprint stages.
Great preview, very strong line up this year, hopefully Toll can pip the rest to the jersey.
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