Arriving into Andorra la Vella following 15 furious days of racing and the Fantasy Picks twist and turn as if desperate to be unpredictable. Riders abandoning has opened up the sprint, and means that points should be more predictable, especially on the flat stages, however the pesky breakaways have struck time and again to ruin anyone hopes of true fantasy dominance.
Familiar faces have continued their winning ways ending 6 days of racing, with only 4 of the 18 teams claiming victories in the second week of racing. The General Classification has changed dramatically almost everything single day, however one name has reigned supreme over them all, the man of the hour Tadej Pogacar.
My picks have tried their best to throw my race away, by doing two things, working for their leader and staying in the race. As fans we never want to see riders abandon the race, however when I began this Fantasy team, I stated that I would not change anyone unless they left the race, and I will stick to that, but unfortunately only 3 of my riders seem to be actually scoring me points. Although I am spiralling, what tips should you look for going into the final week?
The Real All-Rounder
Luckily for me, I picked Wout Van Aert and he has absolutely delivered at this Tour but unlike anything we would have thought he could. Coming into Valence after the rest day, Wout Van Aert was obviously going to contest the sprint, finishing 2nd to the ageless wonder that is Mark Cavendish. To say that he was 2nd to the greatest sprinter to ever get onto a bike, on scintillating form, he cannot be mad about that. The next day we saw the racers climb the iconic Mont Ventoux twice, a rare feather in any climbers cap and a stage the Sprinters bury themselves to just about finish. Unless of course your name is Wout Van Aert who decided instead to win the stage and put his name up there with the greatest climbers. He can clearly do anything and is an absolute Fantasy in any race he competes in.
In my previous Fantasy picks, I mentioned to go with your heart sometimes instead of your head, and while that would have worked for fans of Mark Cavendish, it has not so much worked for some of the other riders in the Peloton. Alejandro Valverde seemed to finally pick up some form today, picking up an excellent second place, however he has felt like a non factory for the other 14 days. Chris Froome is returning to form in this Tour but is being routinely dropped on climbs he has previously sailed over and Andre Greipel is a complete non factor in the bunch sprints, lucky to finish in the top 10. These legends are always fun to see on the start line, however all three feel a long way from their best.
Favourites to Fall Away
In the 2020 Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar won from nowhere, while people knew he was the future and he looked ready to take that next step, he was routinely isolated and in the leading group alone surrounded by the other favourites. This attitude towards riding gave him the overall victory, therefore when I saw Marc Hirschi and Rafal Majka coming to the Tour for UAE Team Emirates I thought I was onto a winner. I picked both and they have done nothing but help the almighty Pogacar defend his lead, barely scoring any points even though they have the pedigree of bonafide stage winners.
Listen to my predictions
Finally to end last weeks Fantasy Picks round up, I advised that riders without a true focus were ones to watch, especially when the mountains arrived. I targeted Jumbo Visma, and specifically mentioned Sepp Kuss as my pick to win a stage in the second week. He duly delivered winning the stage into the rest day and now I feel on top of the world. With that being said, the most dangerous players in the breakaway are the riders without a team focus. Although Jumbo Visma have an extremely strong rider in Jonas Vingegaard going for GC, there are still not protecting him like a leader. My next pick for a rider ready for a stage will follow someone again without a leader focus, look for Pierre Latour to chase glory at his home Tour.
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