To coin a phrase drawn from American sports, sometimes life throws you a curveball. When you record a frankly top notch Tour de France preview for a podcast and the recorder cuts out after 20 minutes, that’s a prime example.

Such a fate befell myself, Inigo Hawkings and Nathan Hardy of the Quicklink Podcast team last night as, after around 75 minutes’ worth of prime content, we realised the technology had failed us. The course preview was safe, but our chat about the riders and our predictions is lost to the digital wasteland.

I don’t have time to give you a full preview of the 184 riders that will line up for the Grand Depart tomorrow, so here’s a speedy run-down: no over-thinking, no time for that. Just three words per rider (or team). Some are race predictions, some more overall thoughts, and some come from the lost podcast. All alphabetised for your convenience.

Have a read and why not share your own three-word predictions with me over on Twitter @writebikerepeat – I’d love to hear from you.

ALAPHILLIPPE, Julian: parcours a gift?

ARANBURU, Alex: Astana’s great hope

BUCHMANN, Emanuel: something to prove

CAMPANAERTS, Victor: value for money

CARAPAZ, Richard: do not underestimate

CAVENDISH, Mark: stage four winner?

CHAVES, Esteban: GC? Go on…

COSNEFROY, Benoit: spotty jersey owner?

DEMARE, Arnaud: so last year

EWAN, Caleb: sprint boss incoming

FROOME, Chris: invaluable resource, respect

GAUDU, David: coming of age?

GOGL, Michael: …and Michael Gogl

MARTIN, Guillaume: French curse prevails

NIBALI, Vincenzo: old guard, fading

PEDERSEN, Mads: inconsistent, chances remote

POGACAR, Tadej: nowhere to hide

PORTE, Richie: disrupting alphabetical providence?

ROGLIC, Primoz: tale of redemption

SAGAN, Peter: single-minded: only green

SOLER, Marc: leader in waiting

THOMAS, Geraint: just stay upright

URAN, Rigoberto: in-form rider?

VAN AVERMAET, Greg: forever golden Greg

VAN AERT, Wout: week one yellow?

VAN DER POEL, Mathieu: smash and grab

VAN MOER, Brent: my long shot

VINGEGAARD, Jonas: deadly if fit

YATES, Simon: here for Tourmalet

A few words on a few teams…


INEOS: too many chiefs

MOVISTAR: déjà vu again

TEAM DSM: teamwork = dream work

QHUBEKA NEXTHASH: everyone’s second team

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