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Tour of Britain 2018: Who are the favourites?

Joe Robinson
30 Aug 2018

From Poels to Roglic and maybe Chavanel. Who are the favourites for the Tour of Britain title?

The Tour of Britain starts this Sunday. Its 120-strong peloton, including recent Tour de France hero Geraint Thomas, will work their way through the narrow English and Welsh roads for eight stages, finishing in London a week later.

It's a route that's suitably British with country lanes, sharp climbs and the inevitability of bad weather. 

The week-long stage race has a good habit of attracting some household names but it seems that 2018 could be a particularly tasty vintage.

Thomas will be there, joined by his mountain domestique and Giro d'Italia champion Chris Froome and Wout Poels.

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) will also be there, to defend Lars Boom's 2017 title, meaning three of the four top riders from the Tour will be present.

Fernando Gaviria is joined by Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels as Quick-Step Floors attempt to win all eight stages while Andre Greipel and Caleb Ewan begin their farewell tours for Lotto Soudal and Mitchelton-Scott respectively.

The race will have its usual band of local Continental teams upsetting the apple cart, constantly attacking, causing trouble. They rarely contest the overall victory but they often have a defining say on who is crowned the eventual winner.

Below, Cyclist takes a look at some of the favourites for the Tour of Britain 2018.

Who are the favourites for the 2018 Tour of Britain?

Wout Poels (Team Sky)

I don't rate Geraint Thomas's chances of winning the Tour of Britain. He spent most of early August on The One Show or riding post-Tour criteriums for large sums of cash.

His training will have taken an obvious hit and this showed when he returned to racing at the Deutschland Tour. He finished 41st overall. 

Froome will also be struggling. He has ridden the past 90 Grand Tours - give or take - and has just become a dad for the second time. Surely he has given himself a break from the bike recently. 

So that leaves Wout Poels. The rangey Dutchman is suited to the punchy course and with support from Thomas and Froome could prove imperious. 

If his legs have recovered from the Giro/Tour duo, he will, without a doubt, be an outstanding favourite.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)

I cannot decide whether I think Alaphilippe or Jungels will take on Quick-Step's charge. Whoever does, however, has a very good chance of overall victory.

The Belgian team has more victories than you've had hot dinners this year and chances are they will nab a few stages with Gaviria, Alaphilippe and Jungels in their line up next week.

The hill climb team time trial to Whinlatter Pass could undo the team's overall chances but Alaphilippe is strong enough to take back time on one of the other rolling days. 

I expect Alaphilippe to launch some swashbuckling attacks - to match his pirate goatee - on multiple stages and when on top form, very few can hold his wheel.

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo)

The Slovenian former ski jumper has won all of the one-week stage races this season.  Basque Country, Romandie, Slovenia, all of them. So, why not the Tour of Britain as well? 

Well, a stone in the elbow has pegged him back slightly. He hasn't ridden his TT bike since the Tour and this has even caused him to pull out of the Worlds next month

But with legs firing like pistons at the end of the Tour, Roglic will be an strong favourite for the victory come London on 8th September.

Again, like Alaphilippe and Jungels, Roglic's biggest problem could be the team time trial. Some of his teammates are heavy Classics men and the TT specialist will likely have to nurse them to the top.

Regardless, there is enough terrain for Roglic to chip away time throughout the week and take a second-consecutive Tour of Britain for the LottoNL-Jumbo team.

Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie)

Picture the scene. The peloton rides out of Pembrey Country Park to begin Stage 1. Mick Bennett drops the flag to signify the start of the race. The bunch is nervous and nobody wants to attack.

Suddenly, off shoots Chavanel. The 39-year-old rolls back the clock, bleached hair and all, attempting one last solo breakaway before retiring at the end of the season.

Chavanel eventually wins the stage by a minute or so and then begins a weeklong crusade to defend the leader's jersey for seven more stages. 

A week later, Chavanel riders into London as champion, rolling back the clock still further, celebrating a final career victory before taking a TV job at TV5 Monde or as a stage presentation bouncer with the Tour.

We can but dream.

Hugh Carthy (EF-Drapac)

Hugh Carthy has a hooped earring and lives in Pamplona despite being from Preston. He is like the kid at school who was ribbed for wearing a cycling cap until sixth-form when everyone realised he was actually really cool because he owned a parka and could speak Spanish.

Carthy also visited Shoreditch before gentrification and drinks Red Stripe in the off-season.

He is also just skin and bone, with the physique of a Spanish mountain goat, which makes him look equally awkward and intriguing on a bike.

Since joining the WorldTour in 2017 from the hip Caja Rural team to the equally hip EF-Drapac team, he is yet to secure a big victory despite climbing well on the odd occasion.

He is long overdue a big win and the Tour of Britain could be the place for that. If he can prevent being blown away by the wind, his natural climbing ability could be enough to take the overall title.