Tour de France: Chris Boardman picks out Jenkin Road as big test

Chris Boardman
Chris Boardman
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Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman has tipped Jenkin Road to separate the men from the boys when Le Tour comes to Sheffield this weekend.

The ultra-steep Wincobank street comes towards the end of stage two and having gone around 120 ardous miles previous to that and with the finishing line in sight Boardman, who rode in the Tour when it visited southern Britain in 1994 and won the prologue three times, taking the yellow jersey on each occasion as a result, believes it will be a crucial part of the stage.

“It’s a lumpy old day, all through the day,” he said.

“But for me, Jenkin Road, with less than 5km to go, it’s only 900m long, but it’s steep.

“It will string out the peloton and it goes into a housing estate immediately, so there’s a potential there for some small time gaps to develop.”

Boardman is hopeful that Mark Cavendish is fit enough to come out on top in stage one, from Leeds to Harrogate.

There is a personal attachment to the stage for Cavendish, whose mother is from Harrogate, but Boardman has warned that the sprint specialist will have his work cut out.

“It’s a lot tougher than people think it’s going to be - possibly the Tour’s toughest opening stage for decades,” Boardman said.

“It does flatten off for the last 60 kilometres so that, if the sprinter teams really want it, they’ve got time to pull it back together which, of course, is what Mark Cavendish is going to want.”

He said: “It is, as the footballers say, a big ask for Mark Cavendish. He historically takes a few days to get into his stride. He’s up against it with Marcel Kittel, the new young German sprinter who’s been on form this year as well.

Meanwhile, Britian’s entry has grown from three to four as Simon Yates was surprisingly added to the Orica-GreenEDGE team yesterday.