After Jumbo-Visma have made their first moves in the GC battle, I think it is more likely this flatter stage will come down to a sprint.
The riders will be heading south.
A long straight before the riders MUST take the right way around a roundabout with 900 meters left. They proceed to a left turn with 500 meters left. The road bends slightly in the finale, but you want to stay on the left in the sprint and open up a gap next to the barrier for your sprinter.
I am happy to inform you, there is a chance for echelons tomorrow. The wind direction will come from the NE, which means a cross-tailwind for most of the day. The problem is where they will happen. It will be quite cold too.
We have this section. From 96 km left -> 50 km left. It is through open fields. The wind is said to blow 5 m/s. The same as today. Wind gusts will make it even more possible.
A bit closer to the finale…
With 12.5 km to go is another good option. Get to the front with the tailwind and give it full gas from 10km out until 5 km out.
The xPless idea.
I see plenty of motivation for dropping riders. I think these GC men will struggle. Simon Yates, Gaudu, G. Martin, De la Cruz, O’Connor and Martinez might struggle. I do not have data on a lot of them, but my initial thoughts say those.
Given a lot of teams will have plenty of riders, it will be up for the sprinters to keep it together, while teams such as Lotto-Soudal, Intermarché, EF and perhaps FDJ to attack late. I doubt they will succeed.
Wout van Aert and Jumbo-Visma now control the race. They plan things down to the very last detail. They know there is a high chance of echelons and they have a wonderful team to execute an attack themselves. It would be better to be on the back foot. In a reduced bunch sprint and a hard day, few beat WvA.
Pedersen gave me a good impression today. Tomorrow will be a very good stage for him. He is in very good shape and he does not mind some wind on the nose. He will be slower than some of the other sprinters, but he will be one of the freshest at the finish.
Phillipsen has a good team here to help him. It will be all about keeping him safe. In the finale, it might be difficult to keep it all together. As a man with ambitions for the classics, this stage should suit him fine.
Jakobsen is in wonderful shape too. Few teams are as strong in these conditions as the Wolfpack. I do not think they will simply do a lead-out train. Something tells me they will use their possible numerical advantage to make moves to control.
Bol is also here with a good team. He rarely wins, but he is a rider who can handle these conditions.
Bennett is here with a good team. I do not think he is strong enough to win though.
Küng – late attack #1. Might have to protect Gaudu, who is most likely to lose time.
SKA – late attack #2. The Dane would love to attack in the finale.
Bissegger – helped Jumbo-Visma out today. Tomorrow he is a great option for a late attack #3.
Stuyven – In case Trek-Segafredo does not have the men to control, Stuyven is excellent in group sprints. #4.
Who will win?
I think the stage tomorrow will be very, very hard. I will take a win for Mads Pedersen.