An interesting day. The first 37 km are quite tough. Then it is mainly descending until the circtuit.
Time to go east, towards the sea.
The climbs of the day.
Three climbs at the start. It is possible for quite a strong breakaway to get up the road.
Fairly simply. One climb, one descend. They do it little over 3 times.
The climb on the circuit.
Hard enough to drop the sprinters – even Ewan after a few times up. Is it hard enough for GC gaps? On paper not, but circuit-racing often invites a lot of attacks.
Almost no wind all day. It will be quite cold at the top of the first climbing section of 37 km. At the finish, around 10 degrees C and the wind will be a bit stronger. The wind will be coming from the NE. That is a headwind for most of the day.
I think it will be quite easy for the big teams to control. The strongest teams (UAE, Bahrain, INEOS, Quick-Step) all want their GC men to win. I think it will be difficult for the breakaway.
Pogacar is just having fun at the moment. Tremendous form and he will race to win. I think the climb is good for him and he has a very good kick. I wonder if they will make Soler follow moves, not a wise decision if you ask me. He has got a good team behind him.
Quick-Step, Evenepoel – will he open the finale early? Most likely. It is a good climb for him, not that steep. It means he can keep grinding the big gear. Unfortunately, I think Pogacar can follow him and outsprint him. It leaves Loulou for the sprint, but he does not look 100% after his crash. This is training before the Ardennes. He was able to follow the move today, which means he is not too hurt. Asgreen is also a viable option for an attack.
Matthews has the profile to win these stages but rarely does. He will be up there, but coming short as always.
Cosnefroy is in good form. It seems he has recovered fully from Covid. He is quick, very quick.
INEOS with a mix of riders who do not really look to have the attributes to win. Carapaz will be beaten in the sprint, Tao G can cover moves but I think Narvaez is their best option. He looked good in the opening weekend.
Wellens is another man who likes attacking. The form is good and he is a good uphill sprinter. I hope we see a Belgian alliance between him and Remco.
Rota has enjoyed some good form. The strongest man in Trofeo Laigueglia. This type of stage is very good for him, he will get a good result.
Who wil win?
I will be boring and go for a double-Slovenian pick tomorrow. Tadej Pogacar.