After yesterday’s prologue, the first stage of the
The stage was due to cover the 184.5km from Amilly to Nevers but unusually gusty conditions have caused the organisers to move the start around 100km south. The riders finally got underway in rainy conditions from the
And with just 90km to ride, the stage is bound to be quick. Credit Agricole directeur sportif Serge Beucherie claimed just before the off that his team “will not be fighting tooth and claw to defend Thor Hushovd’s yellow jersey,” suggesting that with so much hard riding ahead he could not ask his riders to mount such a defence so early in proceedings.
With a strong possibility of the 160 strong peloton arriving en masse at the foot of today’s final climb, Beucherie tipped Gilbert, Nocentini, Fedrigo and Chavanel as potential stage victors.