The second GC day. Is it possible for anyone to steal the leader’s jersey from O’Connor?
The three climbs.
Col de la Boixols in the morning climb. If the breakaway has not already been established, it will be here. I am not sure how many they will allow up the road, as the GC riders will look to score bonus seconds at the finish.
Port de la Creu de Perves is the second climb and its crest is with 46.7 km left. It gradually gets more difficult towards the top, with the last 5 km averaging 6.2%.
Boi de Taull reminds me of the recent mountain top finish in Paris – Nice, Col du Turini. Fairly easer at the start, but gets more and more difficult towards the top. The tough part will be the altitude, finishing in 2015 meters above the sea and the last 10 km above 1500 altitude meters.
Comparrison to Col du Turini.
It is easier than Col de Turini.
Comparison of La Malina from stage 3.
Almost a double-up from today’s stage.
Almost no wind, no rain but quite cold around 2-3 degrees at the top.
How will the stage unfold?
I think we will see quite a lot of teams wanting to send a smaller breakaway up the road. UAE has two options, Quintana is only “12 after O’Connor. We still have 19 riders within “19 of O’Connor. Surely, it will not be an easy day for AG2R.
Once on the climb, I think the first section before the plateau, will be used to decimate the peloton. After the plateau, the attacks will come. It is not very steep, which means we are likely to see quite a big group like today before the moves come.
O’Connor now in the leader’s jersey. I think his team is quite weak, which will make it difficult to keep the jersey. On the other hand, he is very good on these longer climbs, just think back to Tignes.
Quintana – will likely test the legs of O’Connor who looked to dig deep today. I do not think the climb is hard enough for him to distance everyone.
Carapaz is going to enjoy the cold. You must enjoy a bit of cold to win the Giro d’Italia. This year, he has not had a lot of good performances, but he is probably the best climber here – especially with Yates recovering from a cold. I think INEOS will ride for him, Rodriguez could potentially sneak away late.
Kruijswijk should do better tomorrow than today. I think his diesel is better on a longer climb. The cold might be a problem as he did not do too well in Romandie last year in the cold. It might have been a one-off for him, but it is a question mark.
Almeida doing rather well. I thought for a long time his biggest weakness is longer climbs, but he showed on Col du Turini that he can climb. This climb is even easier which means his fast kick can get him far. UAE also has Ayuso. It is a longer effort tomorrow, let’s see what the young rider can manage.
Higuita is looking good too. A bit surprised he did not get any bonus seconds today, losing the sprint to Quintana. He is good in the cold weather, and on a long climb when in form – which he seems to be. I think he can do very well tomorrow.
Woods lost time today. One can only assume he has the pelotonflu.
Movistar has two options. Sosa and Valverde. Sosa would have wanted a steeper climb but he could still do well. Valverde has a sprint and did not lose too much time today. On the other hand, today was not too good for him and tomorrow is more difficult.
Johannessen had a good result today. Tomorrow is when we find out what he is made of.
Martin – a top 10 for the collection.
Yates – recovering from illness. It is not sure if he will start tomorrow.
Who will win?
A lot of strong contenders tomorrow. I will take a win for Almeida.