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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 1 July 2017

2017 Tour de France: Stage 1 TT Düsseldorf

The 2017 Tour de France starts in Düsseldorf with a 14 kilometre time trial. The course is very largely flat with the few climbs essentially from going over two bridges over the Rhine. It is an ideal course for a strong, powerful time trial specialist like Tony Martin and probably not ideal for lightweight climbers. At 14K it could long enough for some of the favourites to lose time, although not enough time to count by the time the Tour reaches Paris on 23rd July.

Given today's forecast for heavy rain at times it is fortunate that there a few corners on this course and some long straights. Even so rain will make this short TT more of a lottery both from the increased possibility of crashes and if some riders race in the rain, while others ride in the dry.

The forecasters are not in agreement over when it will be raining or how hard. The BBC has opted for heavy rain for much of the day except around 2pm when the rain is expected to be lighter. The forecast on the official Tour website is for scattered light showers. Other forecasts have heavy rain in the morning tailing off to some light rain in the afternoon. 

If it is very wet I would expect the Yellow Jersey contenders to ride more cautiously, so as to avoid crashing as a few seconds lost here is much better than a bad crash. 

Let's hope that after all the build up the forecasts are confounded and that it is dry in Düsseldorf this afternoon. 

Contenders for the stage 
Many would love to see Tony Martin win today and certainly he is probably the favourite but not by a big margin. Other contenders include Richie Porte, although if it is wet Richie may be reluctant to go full gas, Jonathan Castroviejo, Primoz Roglic and possibly Steve Cummings who is the UK's 2017 Time Trial Champion.

Elie Gesbert is the first rider off at 15.15 CET. Riders start at one minute intervals with Chris Froome, as defending champion last of the 198 competitors off at 18.32. Tony Martin's start time is 18.20.     

The first rider is off at 15.15      

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