3116 climbing meters
Another hilly day in Spain. We have yet another finish that some of the riders may have ridden before. The last hill was used last year, where Hayter beat Lopez and Bystrøm. It had another run-in but the climb is the same. However, this year it ends earlier. However, we still have cobbles in the last 100 meters.
This is the run-in this year. They come from the north and finish sooner. The real finale starts later, 550 meters from the line (550m at 12.1%) or 200m at 15.5%.
Roughly 100 meters of cobblestones. At this point, it is every man for himself. It will be seated power. It will be important to be in a good spot before this section.
Almost no wind and sunny.
It is up and down the last 90 km. It is here most of the climbing meters are in the stage. I do not think the breakaway stands a good chance and the very steep finish should remove the hope for the sprinters.
Covi was the best of the rest today. A strong attack, unfortunately not to take the stage win. He confirmed as I was suspecting – he is going well. I think UAE will ride for him, he has the best shot at getting a good result in the overall. Perhaps it is for Trentin tomorrow, who looked good too.
Cosnefroy was up there too. I am not sure how much he likes to sprint on 15%. It will be hard to sprint out of the saddle. I think he will be up there, but to take the win will be difficult.
Lutsenko and Astana did not take any initiative today. Tomorrow will be an important day, and he is going very well. I think he will finish much better tomorrow.
Narvaez might have to ride for Rodrigues tomorrow. However, a steep finish is very, very good for him. INEOS was present in the last part of the race and they have the manpower to keep him in a good position.
Stybar attacked at the bottom of the climb today. A cobbled finish is perfect for him.
Serrano was up there too. He is performing well, but I’m not sure how much he will like the cobbles.
Woods had a stomach bug prior to the race – I doubt he will like the cobbles either.
Haig could do well tomorrow. He is good on steep gradients and, from what I recall, rarely leaves the saddle. I have a gut feeling telling me, he will do well.
Who will win?
I will take a win for Stybar tomorrow. It is a long drag to the line, but Quick-Step will have the riders to keep him in a good position. The last climb is short and steep, which reminds me a bit of a cobbled climb in the classics.