Sprinters and team managers say the bunch sprints will be as chaotic as ever despite now having two big names missing from the Tour de France
“You notice their absence because they are both big personalities,” Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) told Cycling Weekly.
“It’ll be slightly different. It won’t be any less chaotic, if anything, probably more because there’s not as much control in the group. Everyone’s willing to risk that little bit more because this is the Tour de France.”
Swift crashed with Cavendish and smashed his helmet, but despite feeling sore, is ready to sprint.
“It puts a different dynamic on the sprints, but we still have Kittel, Greipel and Démare here.
“Kittel showed to be, in a flat drag strip, the fastest so far. The sprints are going to be the same, but it definitely opens up that green jersey competition without Sagan.”
“Now it’s very open, but also before Démare was doing well in the intermediate sprints and getting points,” said UAE Emirates sports director and former lead-out for Mario Cipollini, Mario Scirea.
“Just that before Sagan could always survive the mountains before and get points.
“We lack Bora and Dimension data, two important teams who are not working in the sprints, but we’ve seen already that other teams like FDJ are taking the race in hand. FDJ, Quick-Step and also Katusha.”
“I don’t think it will change, we were one of nine teams controlling the other day,” Roger Hammond, Dimension Data sports director said.
“They weren’t the only two sprinters in the race and it takes it way from the other guys by saying so.
“It detracts from not having those two in the bunch sprints because when they get beaten it makes it an epic day. When they win, it’s also epic because they are such superstars.”
Watch: Tour de France 2017 week two preview
“I think we have enough sprinters still left who want to go for the victory and enough teams to control for the lead outs,” said Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors), winner of stage two.
“Of course, it’s not the same, but I don’t think the sprints are less fast or easier now. Because now you have two sprinters less in the bunch, two guys who want to fight for victories. That’s a difference.”
Dimension Data could work for Cavendish’s lead-out man Mark Renshaw, Edvald Boasson Hagen or Scott Thwaites in the sprints.
“It’s going to change a lot, missing two of the biggest riders,” Renshaw said.
“We’ll see Quick-Step take it up early because they don’t want to be involved in a crash like they were two days ago. And yeah, the green jersey competition opens up now.”