It will be a mountain top finish to determine the final outcome of the GC in Tour de la Provence. The riders will finish on Montagne de Lure, a mountain which has been used twice in Paris-Nice. The two persons to have won a bike race on the mountain are Contador and Porte. Furthermore, we have a hilly stage before the mountain which means we could see a fairly strong breakaway up the road. However, I doubt it will be won from a breakaway – this one is for the GC favorites.
Montagne de Lure
Unfortunately, there is some error with Veloviewer. Simply ignore the flat and very steep section, as it is a regular effort all the way up.
We will have the wind coming from the south. This means a tailwind for most of the stage and on the climb too. Montagne de Lure is in a forested area, which means it will not play a big part, but it certainly favors the pure climbers – the ones who dare to attack from afar. It will be colder too, cloudy but without rain.
Quintana seems to have found some good form after the winter. I see him as the big favorite tomorrow. He has not missed the splits, he has a good squad around him and we all know he loves a mountain top finish early in the season.
Sosa, as predicted, lost a lot of time in the crosswinds. That is no surprise. It gives him an advantage as he no longer poses a big threat in the GC. It gives him freedom. He won the mountain top finish last year in the race (Mont Ventoux), and it would be foolish not to expect him to fight for the win tomorrow.
Alaphillipe might have to respond to a lot of attacks tomorrow. The way I see it, it is now his race to lose. With a limited number of helpers to assist him, I think it will be difficult for him to win the stage – his main priority will be the GC.
Skjelmose has lived up to my expectations. I am very fond to see, he from a young age, knows how to cope with crosswinds. It has put him in a good situation. I still think he is a level under the favorites here, but I do hope he proves me wrong.
Storer is also out of the GC due to him missing the splits on stage 1. As with Sosa, he now has more freedom. I hope to see him in the morning break. With an advantage before the last climb, he will be very tough to catch.
Latour has proved to be very consistent in the first races of the year. I doubt he can win, but I think he will finish on the overall podium, which is a very nice result for him and his team.
Who will win?
I expect him to do what only a few riders can. Attack from afar and never look back again.