A bit of a surprise to me that we did not have any moves from the GC contenders on Col de la Mûre with Roglic almost isolated. Rohan Dennis was worth his weight in gold, but Jumbo-Visma for once looked human.
Let’s look at the climbs.
Col de Murs is likely where we see the breakaway take shape.
The last climb of the day, Col de Pas de la Coulle, tops with 29 km left.
The following descend do have a lot of switchbacks. 11 of them in the first half. It will be a crucial point.
A hill 10 km from the finish.
A massive headwind for most of the day. We had a headwind for most of the day. This is enough for echelons too. I often give the breakaway a worse chance whenever I see this. It is mostly a headwind/crosswind all the way back from there.
A short section of 5 km from 67.5 km – 62.5 km left. Is such a short section enough for crosswinds? Ask the riders of La Vuelta 2021, stage 6. From what I can see, this is the only open part. We have moved towards the south and the vegetation is better. With mainly a strong headwind afterwards, I am not sure if it will work.
How will the stage unfold?
It is a stage similar to yesterday’s, almost. 220 km in the headwind, who will want to control it? The sprinters? We almost have 3000 meters of climbing, I doubt it.
Jumbo-Visma does not look invincible. If it comes back and we see a sprint, I think Wout van Aert will win. It is too easy for the GC men and too hard for most of the sprinters. Even with a headwind, I think it is likely we will see another breakaway win. And most of the teams are very small!
You can make a difference on the last climb, but with a headwind, it will be more tactical. I think the rider winning tomorrow will be strong as an ox.
Dylan van Baarle is the perfect rider for this stage. Unfortunately, if he goes in the breakaway, Jumbo-Visma will have to chase and will chase. On the other hand, fatiguing their team a little bit ahead of Col du Turini might not be a bad idea.
SKA is very close in the GC. In the summer of 2020, he would have been the favorite. He sits close in the GC but how big a threat is he? I doubt many are willing to let him get up the road.
Matteo Jorgensen was in the breakaway today. Looking good but was beaten by a better rider. I think it is a good parcour for him. I hope they send him and Garcia Cortina to the breakaway, they could be a strong duo.
Mollema is probably too close in the GC too.
Thomas de Gendt is strong as an ox. He pops up out of nowhere with masterclass rides once or twice each year. Is tomorrow the day?
McNulty took a nice win today. He sits far back in the GC, he could go for another one.
Wout van Aert lost time today. He did not pop today. A long classics season requires smart decisions. Losing a lot of time today means he is free to join the breakaway tomorrow. Is he allowed? I think Roglic’s GC is most important.
FDJ has Gaudu and Pacher. Gaudu lost time again today, I do not think he is looking to sharp. Pacher finished with the best today, I think he is looking solid.
Coquard, Garcia, Mads P – all solid options if it becomes a sprint stage.
Who will win?
I do not think we have enough big teams who want to chase. The win will come from the breakaway or a late attack if we see echelons.
I will go for a Dane, SKA to take the win.