The decisive stage. We do not have the biggest time gaps at the moment, and the battle for the podium will surely be interesting to follow.
Out into the desert and back towards Al Ain and Jabel Hafeet. This means we have a chance of crosswinds.
It has been used before. Last year, Adam Yates gave Pogacar a good run for his money. He beat him here back in 2020. We will have to find out who the king of Jabel Hafeet is going to be.
The wind will blow from the south, which means we will have crosswinds from 1:30 – 2:00. It will blow 4 m/s. I do not think it is enough, especially with a headwind back.
How will the stage unfold?
It is likely we will see a breakaway go up the road and get a gap. The GC teams will take control and we will see the favorites battle it out.
Pogacar will have to defend his jersey. I do not think he will have any trouble doing it. He is always something special here in the home race.
Yates pushed Pogacar to his limits last year. He did a very good TT but he will need to have a gap to Pogacar if he wants to win. I doubt he can drop Pogacar but he is a contender for the stage.
Vlasov is in the same boat as Yates. Will they form an alliance? I doubt it. He is in terrific shape, I think he will finish on the podium.
Bahrain have Mäder and Bilbao. I do not think they can follow the best three.
EF have two options. They have Guerreiro and Powless. Will one of the two lanch at the bottom and hope for poker games in the back? It gives them an advantage but they do not have the individual skill to win.
Bardet looked good on the Jebel Jais. I am not sure he is in any form to win but he sits quite far down in the GC which means he may get a bit of freedom.
Hirt is looking very good. Jabel Hafeet is much better for him than Jebel Jais. I think he will finish in the top-5 of the stage.