... cause it's July, and attention must be paid. Starts in Utrecht, home of the Treaty of Utrecht, beloved of all Louisbourg historians, cruises the North Sea coast a little, goes out into Brittany pretty fast, and then does a ton of mountains. Alpe d'Huez on the last day of racing before the run into Paris!
Theory I have, early on day two, is Ryder Hesjedal, riding right at the back on a day the peloton is likely to be split to pieces by coastal croswinds so the back riders will end up ten minutes back, is he wants to take himself decisively out of GC contention. Then he will be free to freelance, to compete in breakaways and try for stage wins, without being marked and reeled in every time. The Cannondale team ain't built to support him in a GC attempt, anyway and as a non-contender he can loyally support Andrew Talansky or Dan Martin, both younger and from big-market countries, if they contend, and still get himself some individual achievements.