For board members, yet to follow the race:
John Degenkolb got quite badly banged up on a first day of utter carnage on slippery roads. He got to the finish line after picking himself up and riding alone for 65 kilometres. He was disqualified for finishing two minutes past the cutoff time. I initially thought this was a disgrace because, if he'd been French, there's not much doubt there would have been some sympathy. However, he was interviewed before yesterday's stage and said that there was no way that he would have been able to start. Still my favourite rider.
Phillippe Gilbert, his team-mate and friendly rival, is also out. He crashed and finshed within time. However, he'd broken his kneecap on the way ... these lads are absolute lions.
Arnaud Demare hasn't started the race; probably a wise move given the gruelling opening stages. He's saving himself for the Giro d'Italia.
The carnage of the first couple of days may mean that some teams will change tactics and target stage wins more than overall wins. If so, riders will be more individualistic. The exception is (Sky) Ineos, who look as relentlessly efficient as they always do in this race.
Therefore, I'm amending my fave riders in this race to two old favourite old warhorses who won't win anything but will give it a go:
Rouleur: Nicolas Roche & Sprinter: Andre Greipel
Difficult to tip a winner for Stage 3 today. Riders face a lengthy slog up and down some medium (by TDF standards) hills, but then a long flat third will probably end in a sprint finish.
Climbers will go for early points ... In addition to my chosen climber ... Esteban Chaves ... Adam Yates looked good yesterday and the Ineos machine looked to be conserving energy for today. Hugh Carthy is an unsung British climber who could make the podium in a few stages. Julian Alaphilippe won yesterday but looked all in at the finish.
Sprinters may have had their speed reduced by the early slog. Andrei Greipel and Alexander Kristoff are strong and may fight it out with Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan.
Anyone can join a free tipping competition on Superbru ... https://www.superbru.com/home/index.php. Each day you can pick four riders in nominated categories. Have a go, it's fun. My useless picks on Superbru today are:
Team Leader: Dan Martin
Sprinter: Caleb Ewan
Wildcard: Matteo Trentin
Wildcard: Edvald Boasson Hagen