It is time for the most decisive GC day. This one looks hard.
The circuit and Monte Carpegna.
Twice up and twice down.
Do not mind the 92%, it bugs from time to time. A very hard climb. Five of that 5.8 km are almost 11%. And they are doing it twice.
It is difficult to say just how hard it is. Simply because the Google Car has not been up there. I see it as a steep descend with plenty of switchbacks. I doubt it will be easy.
Wind coming from the east. A bit stronger towards the east but not enough for echelons I would say. Quite cold at the top of the climb, but not freezing temperatures.
How will the stage unfold?
It is going to be a GC day. The interesting thing is, will we see any attempts on the first ascend? INEOS may want to do this, but neither Porte or Tao G Hart are very skilled descenders. Bora-Hansgrohe has Kelderman and Hindley, two good riders but it might be a bit too early?
It will be boring. I think most of the riders will be so concerned with the second ascend this first of them might be a bit dull. I can imagine teams putting pressure on the first descend – I’m looking at Astana and Movistar.
Pogacar – you will have to be smart to beat him. With Majka, Almeida and Soler at his side, he will not be easy to beat.
Vingegaard is getting better day by day. We know he is one of the riders who can follow Pogacar. I’m just not sure the form is there just yet.
Evenepoel – I will go out on a limb, but I think it is too hard and there is too much descending.
Bahrain – Victorious with three candidates. Landa is good both up and down and 1:24 to Pogacar feels impossible. With Caruso and Bilbao they do have a fantastic team. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will do. I think Bilbao and Landa will do well, Bilbao is in great shape and a fantastic descender.
INEOS with Porte who will do very well up, but might struggle on the way down. Tao G Hart looked under pressure today in the finale, I doubt he will win.
Lopez will love this. He will just be angry the climb is not any longer! I am not sure I have ever seen Lopez win somewhere else than on a mountain top. I do think he will climb very well and finish amongst the best.
Kelderman & Hindley – both to finish quite well. Kelderman to take another top-10 and Hindley as a joker. He is looked good at the moment.
Who will win?
It is hard to look past Pogacar at the moment.