2017 Tour de France: Stage 1 live race updates, blog

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    (Team Sky)

    The 2017 Tour de France is finally here, and Tony Martin will be favourite to win Stage 1 on home soil in a 14-kilometre time trial around Düsseldorf, while the first sorting out of general classification riders also takes place. Join The Roar for live coverage and updates from 11pm (AEST).

    While the battle for the first yellow jersey will be on, it seems to be almost a forgone conclusion that time trial world champion Tony Martin will don it.

    He is a class above in the race against the clock, and with Fabian Cancellara retired there is no one who will seemingly come close to him on a flat course in his home country of Germany.

    The time trial, on the banks of the Rhein River is almost pancake flat, but has some tight twists and turns through the middle part which could prove dangerous.

    That’s made even more so by the weather forecast. Rain is expected for the first stage of the race and it will be slippery with the weather ugly in the days leading up. If this is the case, then 90 degree turns are going to be less than appealing.

    The first four kilometres down the bank of the river are straight forward, but then it’s a 90 degree turn to the left and an acute angled turn back to the right to get onto the other side of the river.

    The riders will then be tasked with looping their way to the time check, with three more or less right angled turns in less than a kilometre on either side.

    The final four kilometres are back up the other side of the road though, making for what should be a fast and relatively easy finish.

    The biggest question appears to be finding out if anyone can challenge Tony Martin. Primoz Roglic will be the lead contender. He missed the 2016 Giro d’Italia prologue by less than a second to Tom Dumoulin, who of course isn’t racing.

    Jonathan Castroviejo is another hopeful, while others to watch include Australia’s Luke Durbridge, Vasil Kiryienka and Maciej Bodnar, as well as general classification contenders Chris Froome and Richie Porte.

    The former teammates are the best of the time trialists in the GC bunch and the rest will be out to avoid losing time, with Esteban Chavez, Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet at the top of that list, none of whom are noted for an ability against the clock.

    Prediction
    You can’t go past Tony Martin on home soil. It’s almost a given that he will slip on the first yellow jersey.

    The more intriguing battle is for general classification and who will be able to pull the first punch. The race won’t be won today, but Porte has been in superb form and I expect him to come out ahead of Froome in that battle.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 1 from 11pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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