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Tadej Pogacar
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NBC Sports Predictor

Ride with Kung and Simmons Day 1 of the Tour de France: Play Predictor

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: June 29, 2022, 6:23 pm ET

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Friday marks the start of the greatest cycling event on the planet. The 2022 Tour de France begins in Copenhagen (yes, in Denmark and not in France) and consists of 176 riders competing in 21 stages raced over 23 days. The 109th edition of the race covers 3,328km (2,080 miles). Each stage averages 158.5km (99 miles). The Tour is composed of six flat stages, seven hilly stages, six mountain stages, and two individual time trials.  

Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar is the defending champion and in fact will be seeking a third consecutive title. The 23-year-old and leader of UAE Team Emirates is the overwhelming favorite. His primary challengers are fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard of Team Jumbo-Visma and Dani Martinez of Team Ineos Grenadiers. Aleksandr Vlasov of Team Bora-Hansgrohe is making his first appearance at the Tour but is also expected to contend.

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To help you out, here are some statistics and suggested picks to two of the questions from this week’s game.

Question #1: Who will win Stage 1 of the 2022 Tour de France?

Potential Answers: Filippo Ganna, Wout Van Aert, Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic, Stefan Kung, Other

The race begins with a relatively flat stage in Copenhagen, Denmark. While the average stage is approximately 158 km, the opening stage in 2022 is a Time Trial primarily through the streets of the capitol and as such is only 13km.

Time Trials are popular primarily because it is simply a rider vs. the clock as opposed to battling other riders in tight quarters. Often referred to as the “race of truth” the time trial will appear twice over the course of this year’s Tour.

Tadej Pogacar is a heavy favorite (-165) to win the Tour, but he is not favored to win the opening time trial. In fact, the defending champ is listed at 25/1 and is thus, a relative longshot to claim the time trial.

Filippo Ganna is listed at 10/11 to win Stage 1, followed by Wout Van Aert (7/4), Stefan Kung (8/1), and Matthieu Van Der Poel (10/1).

Suggested Answer: Looking at stories speaking to the top time trial racers, each list touts Kung as a leading contender. His name was listed far more frequently on those lists and closer to the top than any of the other candidates noted in the question.

 

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Question #5: Best finisher among American Riders?

Potential Answers: Sepp Kuss, Brandon McNulty, Matteo Jorgenson, Other

There are seven Americans in the 2022 Tour de France. Sepp Kuss, Quinn Simmons, Joe Dombrowski, Neilson Powless, Kevin Vermaerke, Matteo Jorgenson, and Brandon McNulty comprise the American contingent in the 109th edition of the Tour.

Kuss currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Team Jumbo–Visma. McNulty is a member of UAE Team Emirates. Jorgenson rides for the Movistar Team.  This trio comprises the promise of American cycling.

Suggested Answer: The play here is OTHER as 21-year-old Quinn Simmons is being touted as the next great American cyclist. Many expect the American to begin to make his mark on cycling’s biggest stage this July. A specialist in the mountains, Simmons will look to begin his ascent up the rankings of cyclists with a strong time trial as he looks to prove he is capable of competing in the Tour no matter the terrain.

 

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