Stage two: Auray ? Saint-Brieuc, 164.5km
What will happen?
The sprinters will want a bona fide crack at it today, but the attacks will be allowed their head early on.
Thomas Voeckler and Björn Schröder are tied on points in the king of the mountains competition, with Voeckler wearing the jersey because of his better stage finish yesterday. So there is a chance Bouygues Telecom and Milram will want to keep things tight until the first fourth-category climb ? the Côte de Bieuzy-Lanvaux after 23.5 kilometres ? to allow their men to score points.
Today?s stage features the superb Mur de Bretagne, an evocative, straight line climb that attracts huge crowds. It?s followed quickly by the Côte de Saint-Mayeux.
That?s the last of the categorised climbs, and it comes with 68 kilometres to go. From there the teams with sprinters will start to turn the screw.
We really can?t see an escape succeeding today. It?ll be a bunch sprint in the end.
Juan Mauricio Soler fell in a crash 9.5 kilometres from the finish of yesterday?s stage. Last year?s king of the mountains winner lost 3-04, but overnight a more serious picture has emerged. It?s reported he has a suspected broken wrist. His Tour may be over before it?s even begun.
Will Valverde stay in yellow?
The one-second time gap Alejandro Valverde secured at the finish yesterday means he will probably keep the jersey until Tuesday?s time trial.
There are no time bonuses on offer at the finish this year, so even if one of the sprinters in the group one second back, or the bigger group seven seconds behind, were to win today, Valverde would keep the jersey (as long as he finishes in the same group).
Who?s wearing the jerseys?
Yellow Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne)
Green Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) ? looking after it for Valverde
Polka-dot Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
White Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval)
CW?S tip for the win
To our mind there are three favourites. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) are clearly in great shape. The Norwegian was strong at the finish yesterday and will find today much more to his liking. But we?re going to allow ourselves to be blinded by patriotism and pick Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia). If he has a smooth ride to the finish, he can prove he?s the fastest in the world.
The forecast rain stayed away yesterday, but they may not be so lucky today. The wind won?t be as strong as yesterday, but it will be at their backs most of the day, which may tilt the balance in favour of any breakaways a little.
Stage 2 route information
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|
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