Tour de France: Stage One Preview: Düsseldorf - Düsseldorf

The 2017 edition Tour de France gets underway on 1 July with a 14-kilometre time-trial through the streets of Düsseldorf.

We kick things off this year with a Grand Départ that will see the riders tear through the streets of Germany’s ninth most popular city, Düsseldorf. While this stage is too long to be considered a prologue, the course is still short enough for the riders to have a real go with a few three flat stages to follow.

While all eyes will be on the likes of Tony Martin and Primož Roglic, it would be unwise to rule out a big performance from Richie Porte who – as well as winning the individual time-trial in the Dauphine – looks to be a genuine contender for the GC this year.

To Win Stage
Tony Martin 7/4 | Primož Roglic 5/2 | Jos van Emden 9/2 | Stefan Kung 6/1 | Jonathan Castroviejo 18/1

The Contenders

Tony Martin 7/4
The German will ride in the Colours of Katusha-Alpecin this year and will be eager to wear the Yellow Jersey for his new team over the first few stages. He comes into this stage on home soil having just won his sixth-consecutive German Time-Trial Championship. He's primed and ready to go and will look to blow the rest of the field away on a lightening fast course.

Primož Roglic 5/2
The Slovenian certainly has enjoyed a strange journey on his way to becoming an elite Grand Tour cyclist. He was crowned the Junior World Ski Jumping Champion in 2007 and continued to compete before joining his first professional cycling team, Adria Mobil in 2013.

He's since seen his stock rise exponentially following wins in the Tour d'Azerbaïdjan and the Tour of Slovenia earning himself a spot on the LottoNL-Jumbo squad. An accomplished time-trialist (current national champion of Slovenia) and climber, he'll be keen to add to his one and only Grand Tour stage win which came in the Radda in Chianti – Greve in Chianti (stage nine) in the 2016 Giro d'Italia.

Richie Porte 33/1
This is definitely a stage that the Australian will be targeting. If he can open up a gap between himself and Chris Froome this early in the race, he's almost guaranteed - barring any crashes, mechanical failures or successful breakaways - to keep the Yellow Jersey up until stage five when we'll finish at the summit of La Plance des Belles Filles, the first Super Category climb of the tour. He's proven himself to be an effective time-trial rider in recent years and could well pop up with a surprise win come Saturday afternoon.

The Route
The 14-kilometre individual time trial through the streets of Düsseldorf will have the likes of Tony Martin, Primož Roglic, Jos van Emden, and the rest of the big time-trial specialists licking their lips at the prospect of donning the Yellow Jersey for the early stages of the race.

This sort of stage can also see some of the bigger GC contenders – especially those who aren’t particularly strong time-trialists – lose precious seconds before the race properly gets properly underway.

The route looks lightning-fast with the riders only facing the real first corner six kilometres in. From then on, however, it does get a bit more technical so we could well see one or two gaps open up before we hit a virtual four kilometre straight to the finish.

From a punting perspective, it's worth nothing that Richie Porte claimed the stage four time-trial at the Dauphine from Tony Martin. It’s performances like these that has seen the Australian emerge as many pundits’ favourites to claim the GC title year, especially seeing as Chris Froome has endured a rather underwhelming season thus far. The Aussie looks good value at 33/1 and may well receive a bit of betting support.

Verdict: Richie Porte to beat Chris Froome (Match Up) 7/10
The Aussie showed just how strong he can be on the flatter parts of these fast-paced time-trials. He was two seconds down on Tony Martin in the Dauphine TT at the first intermediate check but stormed back on the latter parts of the course to win by 12 seconds. He may well target this time-trial too in a bid to put Froome on the back foot early. The Brit finished 37 seconds behind Porte in the Dauphine time-trial and a similar showing now would lay down a serious marker. 7/10 looks excellent value. 

Value Bet: Tony Martin 7/4
As frustrating as it is tipping favourites, I just don't see anyone else pipping the German on the opening day of the 2017 Tour. The weather may also play a pretty big role in this TT with plenty of rain set to fall according to local weather services, the day's stage will likely go to the strongest out and out time-trialist. Get on at 7/4.

Written by Jason Dewey for

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