I think this is one of the harder days here. We have 2970 meters of climbing, and the last 140 km are constantly up or down and it is here most of the climbing meters are too. I am fairly certain it will be the GC guys that will battle it out. It is in the closing two laps of 46.5 km we will see some action.
There are almost 800 meters of climbing on this circuit with a constant change of terrain. There are three important climbs here.
Route des Rochettes (900m at 9.1%, max 20%) – 68 km left & 21.3 km left. Narrow roads and an important battle for positioning at the bottom.
Route de Ferlens par Pra Contey (2.1 km at 6.1%, max 8.8%) – 59 km left & 12.5 km left. Bigger roads and after a descent which means they carry a lot of speed unto the climb.
Climb in Romont (1.2 km at 6.7%, max 13.8) – 47.7 km left & 1.2 km left. A big road into the city and a battle for the corner under the flamme rouge. We had the same finish in 2019, but with a different run-in and the finale climb is 80 meters longer this year.
2019 edition vs 2022 edition.
The first is the 2019 edition. The climbs are longer but not more difficult than the one’s tomorrow. However, they are closer to the finish. The 2022 edition is a more difficult stage overall with more total climbing meters, but I doubt Route des Rochettes (900m at 9.1%, max 20%) will see a big selection.
Important turn unto the climb. Then through the switchbacks and a right turn with 300 meters to go. It flattens out in the last 100 meters. The podium here in 2019 was Gaudu, Costa and Roglic. Positioning is key, as it is very hard to get by in the switchbacks and not enough time after the last turn.
It took 2 minutes 5 seconds last time.
The wind will blow from the NW, around 5 m/s. That means the climb in Romont will be with a tailwind. Temperatures are around 14 degrees and the sun will shine all day long.
Hayter took a big win today and he might as well take one tomorrow. In the post-stage interview, the plan is to go for him for the first few days and switch over to G later on. They have a team to control the stage and they will still be strong enough to position him well before the climb.
Hirschi is my bet from UAE. It could be McNulty, it could be Ayuso too. I think Hirschi is going to be their choice due to their pre-race comments, McNulty’s crash in LBL and Ayuso has seemed a bit off after his first spring as a pro. The Swiss rider is getting closer to his 2020 level – that means he is one of the best on these finishes.
Teuns with a win in LFW. This is a lot easier, but I do think he can challenge for the podium. It will be about positioning, and LLS should be able to survive and guide him to the front. I think it is too easy a finish for him to win, but he should finish in the top-10.
Bora-Hansgrohe? Well, pick your lottery ticket. Higuita should be the fastest, Vlasov might be their pick due to being their leader and Grossschartner was 3rd in the Prologue. I will go for Higuita as their pick. He came back strong in LBL and he should be their choice as he has the best shot at taking a stage win for the team tomorrow.
Woods can do very well here. These were the EF days, which means his positioning always was awful. Given Bevin is starting tomorrow and Fuglsang, they should be able to position him well and make sure he stays at the front before the final turn.
Schmid – form is good, a top-10.
Molard – 8th in LFW, a top-10.
Who will win?
I expected Hayter to do good in the prologue, but he was better than expected. He will be the man to beat.