I must admit this is genuine bad stage planning. As Ruta del Sol does not have a big GC day, it is weird we have the hardest climb at the start of the second to the last stage.
Alto del Purche
This should surely invite a lot of riders to go in the morning break. It will be curious to see who will take control today, as UAE burnt a lot of matches yesterday. The riders will have a tailwind here but it won’t blow much.
There is a short climb starting 11 km from the finish and topping with five km left. It is perfect for a late attack.
Great weather again, almost no wind.
The stage is fairly easy after Alto del Purcher. The most likely scenario for me is a break goes on the climb and they will get a gap. I still think teams will want to bring it back together if they are a danger to the GC. If they are not, I think they will make it to the line. The other scenario is the GC teams will try and distance Covi who also got isolated yesterday. Bahrain and INEOS do have the numbers.
Covi is in very good shape but it will be difficult to win as he is likely to be alone in the finale. If he wins today, the other teams will have messed it up.
Bahrain have Haig, Poels, Landa and Caruso. They should all be able to be in the peloton after Alto del Purche. The first two I mentioned do have a good sprint but it does not look like Landa or Caruso is in very good shape. They should have plenty of options.
INEOS has Rodrigues, Narvaez and Dunbar who should be able to cope with the climb. Personally, I think it is a good stage for Narvaez, who is the fastest on the line out of those three.
Lutsenko – late attack option. Surely he seems a bit tired after his win in the Spanish gravel race but he is very good if a big split happens on the climb and Astana sits there with a few riders.
Serrano is fast and can climb. Sosa should be able to hang on up Alto del Purche. Will Serrano have to work for Sosa or can he chase his own win? You just never know with Astana.
Clarke is doing very well too. I think he will be a hard man to beat today, the only problem is his team. He is likely to be isolated for a long time making it harder to determine the outcome he wants.
Kämna – breakaway option #1.
Who will win?
It is one of the stages where you just do not know. I would rather watch the GC unfold on the main climb than see it being stolen by the breakaway. I think there is at least one team who will use Alto del Purche for something which means the strongest teams will have the strongest options.
I will take a win for Lutsenko.