Tour de France: Portsmouth North End’s Mark Williams delivers his verdict

Vincenzo Nibali wins in Sheffield on his way to the 2014 Tour de France crown

Vincenzo Nibali wins in Sheffield on his way to the 2014 Tour de France crown

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We look ahead to the 102nd Tour de France through the eyes of Portsmouth North End road and track secretary Mark Williams...

I can see the battle for the yellow jersey going all the way to the penultimate stage and the summit finish on Alpe d’Huez. Most definitely.

And I’m going for Vincenzo Nibali to complete back-to-back wins and prove last year was no fluke.

Alberto Contador and Chris Froome should complete the top three – in that order.

But the way Nibali played with the peloton in the Critérium du Dauphiné recently – riding on the front and tearing the race to bits – before winning the Italian national road race, convinced me he could be the dark horse of the leading contenders.

I can see the three of them being very close, though.

I’m going for Vincenzo Nibali to complete back-to-back wins and prove last year was no fluke

Mark Williams

Nairo Quintana may do well in one or two stages but I don’t see him in yellow.

First of all, though, I’m hoping the Dutch police don’t follow through with their threats of strike action and ruin tomorrow’s opening time trial.

Provided all goes smoothly, you could see Essex’s Alex Dowsett in yellow by Saturday night.

Mind you, Germany’s Tony Martin and Dutch talent Tom Dumoulin might have something to say about that.

The remainder of the first week should be thrilling.

In particular, the stage three finale on the Mur de Huy – a famous climb of La Flèche Wallonne – is going to be a lottery.

It is so narrow and so steep that if you’re not at the front you can lose chunks of time.

There is also a team time trial before the first rest day and the overall contenders will want a full complement of team-mates for that!

It’s not all about the yellow jersey, though.

After the ride of his life for second spot in the national championship last weekend, I’ve got Mark Cavendish down to win five stages and triumph in a very exciting battle with Peter Sagan & Co for the sprinters’ green jersey.

For more information on Portsmouth North End, visit pnecc.co.uk, search for them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @PortsmouthNECC

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