After a very hectic stage 4, we are down to one stage left. The GC has been blown apart, leaving it up to only a few teams to control the day. With the lack of bonus seconds at the line, it seems very hard to beat Poels today and take the leader’s jersey.
The opening of the stage.
We have plenty of climbing in the first 30.2 km to create a strong breakaway.
An uphill finish. It is not very steep and I think it will be very difficult for anyone to distance Poels to take his jersey.
Almost no wind and sunny.
How will the race unfold?
At the moment, there are 13 riders within a minute of Poels. The gap to the next riders are 6:32. Bahrain – Victorious do have a team to control the breakaway, in order for them to take the stage win but not steal the jersey.
Astana will need to set up Lopez after a disastrous stage 4. One of the better-looking riders yesterday was Simon Yates. I hope he will attack from afar in order to create havoc but I doubt he will succeed. The stage simply do not look hard enough to create any big gaps in the GC.
I find it very hard to believe anyone will try something on the short, yet steep, climb with 40 km to go. It would be a suicide mission. I think we will see a big group get up the road and fight for the win.
Serrano just could not follow the strongest yesterday on Alto del Purche. Tomorrow is more optimal for him as we see fewer steep gradients. He has done well on both uphill finishes, even though he almost made the favorites crash on the second stage. His two only pro wins are from this race.
Covi is in fantastic form. I’m not sure how much energy he has left in the tank, but he did not spend much energy in the latter half of the stage yesterday where the dreams of keeping the leader’s jersey were over. If he is still fresh, he can win again today.
Simon Clarke is going well too. He has had a very good start to the season, but he rarely wins. I think the stage suits him rather well.
Dries Devenyns is in very good form. We have seen it in Provence and in the first two stages here. I am not sure he is good enough an uphill sprinter to beat some of the other favorites here.
Kämna is not in top shape. If he was, he would have been in the front group yesterday after the split.
Durbridge does have a good engine to get in the breakaway. He will have to attack before the last climb as he does not have a good sprint.
In the GC group, I see Poels keeping the jersey.
Who will win?
I will take another win for Serrano. He is fantastic on in an uphill sprint.