Now on to the stage, which I find hardest to predict. Is it a day for the breakaway or will it be a reduced bunch sprint? Let’s see if we can find out. We have 2699 climbing meters.
A very difficult planimetry to understand.
The morning climbs
There are three climbs in the first 30 km. I have removed the first seven flat km before the “start”. Seven km is easy enough for a team to control moves to make sure their climbers stand a better change at getting in the breakaway.
The last two climbs, the last two descents and the run-in to the line.
The climbs are similar. The first is 4.7 km at 4.6%, the second 4.2 km at 4.6%. It will not be difficult enough for GC gaps, which should yet again increase the chance of the breakaway. The roads are wide and the descends are simple. It will likely be vital to attack at the right moment.
It has not typical Romandie weather so far. We will have 1 m/s wind tomorrow, 16 degrees and sunny. Unfortunately, no video! I’m having troubles with my PC.
Break or GC-sprint?
What does the biggest teams want?
Jumbo-Visma, do you really want to control the day, spend energy and spend even more on stage 4?
I doubt it. I do not think they will join the break, but I do not think they will invest 100% in keeping the jersey. They did it today, and if they get help from INEOS, they should be able to control the day.
Quick-Step, Vernon did not make it today – he will not make it tomorrow. They will join the breakaway.
UAE, set it all up for a GC sprint with Ayoso or Hirschi? It seems a bit unlikely. I could not get a proper look at Gaviria on the climb today, but he was not very fresh at the finish. He should not make it tomorrow if INEOS is full-gassing it for Hayter.
Bahrain, I do not think they will invest a lot for a sprint with Teuns.
Ineos, they will have the favorite tomorrow. With G out of GC, they will work for another stage win for Hayter.
I think INEOS and Jumbo-Visma will be able to control it. Therefore, going with a reduced bunch sprint. There are simply too many riders dangerous to the GC, if they get in the break.
Hayter – INEOS will control the day to get another stage win. It is then up to Hayter if he can take a third stage win.
Vlasov – will be looking for bonus seconds tomorrow. It would put him in a great position before tomorrow. How will they play their cards? I think they should opt for as hard a day as possible. That means using Grossschartner, Higuita and Schachmann to make the last two climbs as hard as possible.
Hirschi – form is good and he wants a win on home soil. Tomorrow is the last chance.
Pacher – very fast after a hard day. I expect a top 10.
Hermans – we saw him in LBL. A top – 10.
Arndt – with his famous sitting sprint today. Tomorrow is another good chance for a good result.
Bevin – given his current form, he will be challenging for the win. The bunch is likely to be reduced tomorrow, something that will improve his odds.
Sobrero – Breakaway hope.
Who will win?
I will go for Ethan Hayter again. Two (INEOS and Jumbo) will chase. The others are too close in the GC to be allowed in the breakaway from the big teams. Someone will help them, likely BORA or UAE.