Another Jumbo-Visma 1-2-3. Tomorrow, we move into the mountains. We have three cat-1 climbs and 3322 climbing meters. It is time for a strong climber to take a stage win.
We keep heading south.
Croix de Chaubouret is the early climb of the day. It is a mini Col du Turini. It comes after 25 km of racing. One could imagine some teams want to control the stage until this point to make sure their strongest climbers get in the breakaway. On the other hand, we could see the GC kick off the stage with style. It was the finishing climb of a stage back in 2015, seeing some time gaps – it is not easy at all.
Saint-Romain-de-Lerps is the next climb of the day. It begins with 81 km left of the stage.
The next up is Col de la Mure. Now, we are the last part of the stage. It starts with 41 km left and ends 33.3 km from the finish. Still, a fair bit out, I would say. However, with a tailwind, much could happen.
From Col de la Mure to the finish.
As you can see, it is mostly downhill or flat. A little hill too, 6.1 km at 5.3%.
The descends are not the easiest. Very narrow roads and you can’t really see how big the turns are.
The wind will blow from the south all day. That means a headwind for most of the day. It will give the riders a headwind on Croix de Chaubouret and Saint-Romain-de-Lerps, but a tailwind on Col de la Mure. To me, it makes it more likely for the favorites to fight it out. I doubt the first climb will be used for much, as you will just be a smaller group in the headwind all day. I think the moves will happen on Col de la Mure.
There are some forecasts saying we will get a little bit of rain near the finish. It would be wise for the riders to assume it, which will make the descends more tricky.
Roglic will be a hard man to drop given his current form. Jumbo Visma do have a good team, but not a great climbing team. I imagine they have Dennis, Kruijswijk, WvA and Roglic at the bottom of Col de la Mure. It should be enough to control things / follow moves till the top.
Wout van Aert I think he has enjoyed a few good stages. If it comes down to a reduced sprint, and he is still there, nobody will beat him,
Quintana is in fantastic form. I think he will attack. It is time to test the others with a long-range attack on Col de la Mure. He is not afraid to do it, but I think a faster man can beat him in a sprint.
Adam Yates is on Pogacar-level in the mountains right now. That means he will be difficult to get rid of. It does not finish uphill, which makes it hard for him to win.
Simon Yates with a fifth on today’s TT? It came out of nowhere. I mentioned in the overall preview that he looked good in Andalucia, there was just not any climbs to make the difference. Tomorrow there is, and just like his brother, he will not be easy to drop.
Almeida is very quick. 22nd today is not what I was hoping for. He felt a bit fatigued after today’s TT which is not a good sign. To close in the GC to be allowed in the morning move, but if it comes down to a sprint, without WvA in the group, he will get a good result.
McNulty lost time in the crosswinds too. If the weather was different tomorrow, more preferable for the breakaway, I would have picked him instantly. I think the route is very good for him to do a solo attack. He is climbing very, very well. If everyone looks at each other at the top of Col de la Mure, he will counter over the top and try to get yet another long-range attack win. He crashed on stage 3, but the TT today was good.
Mollema lost time in the wind. He has the nose for these finales. Very hard for Jumbo-Visma to control all the moves. The results have been fine, but other riders look stronger.
Poels already has a win this year. With Haig here, he might be on duty, but he could try to follow moves in the finale.
Jorgensen is another rider who has been unfortunate. Climbed very well in Provence and has the engine to try and make a move.
Who will win?
I think Nairoman will attack. Who can follow? Roglic, Yates and Yates. The way Roglic is looking at the moment, I doubt they can drop him or beat him in a sprint. Roglic to take the win.