Another rest day slowly drifts by as the next stage is getting closer and closer. The riders will be happy they did not have to travel far after a tough ending to the last week
Tomorrow’s stage has 1760 climbing meters.
The climbing to be made.
The first half is flat and the second half is hilly. 1650 of the 1760 climbing meters are in the last 91.1 km. The problem is there is not a lot of flat to gain time in the breakaway. It is constant corners and it is almost always up or down.
The main climbs go as follows.
79 km left – 1.5 km at 6.4%.
70 km left – 3 km at 6.8%. This is where the sprinters must be dropped.
33 km left – 2.35 km at 4.9%.
23 km left – 1.55 km at 6%.
9.8 km left – 1.77 km at 6.1%.
I would still argue the hardest part of the climbing happens quite far out.
The last 10 km
Features the last climb, 1.77 km at 6.1%, and a quick descent to the line.
What could have been an interesting GC day with potential crosswinds is once again shut down by the lack of wind in Italy. In the final part of the stage, the last 90 km, the riders have a constant headwind/crosswind. They will have a tailwind from the top of the last climb to the finish. The terrain in the last 90 km is quite open compared to the last many stages. Plenty of fields which means a constant threat of echelons to push the pace even further.
xPless. Who wants what?
We have 100 km of flat before the climb. That means it should be easy for FDJ, Israel PT and Lotto-Soudal to control any moves. That means, in my opinion, that Girmay and MvdP will not be allowed up the road – in the breakaway.
When (or if) they are not allowed up the road, they will likely change plans to work in the peloton towards a reduced bunch sprint. I think a lot of teams will benefit from this. Quick-Step might prioritize a good result for Ballerini, we know INEOS and Trek likely will go to the front to be on top of things too.
On the last note, it reminds me of the stage in Paris – Nice that Mads Pedersen won. Just this is a bit more challenging.
I think we will see FDJ control the early part, and then it will be up to Intermarché and Alpecin-Fenix to drop the sprinters.
Mathieu van der Poel – I assume his team will do everything in their power to drop the main sprinters once they hit the hilly terrain. He is not a big threat in the points classification, but I feel FDJ might worry a bit if he gets 12 points at the intermediate sprint and 25 at the finish. The smaller the bunch in the end, the higher his chances. It would not surprise to see him attack the last climb (9.8 km left – 1.77 km at 6.1%) and sprint up against whoever followed him. The main problem is, no one is willing to work with him.
Girmay – another one who will not be allowed in the morning break. Simply because he poses a threat in the points classification for Demare. A big threat. Just with the man above, I seriously doubt FDJ, Israel – PT and Lotto-Soudal will let him get in the morning move. Intermarché does have a team to pressure the pure sprinters – something they will do.
Nizzolo – the Italian does not have the speed to compete with the best and that is why tomorrow is a very important day for Israel – Premier Tech. He was one of the strongest climbers on stage 5 and he will have a better chance at winning if Ewan, Demare and Cavendish do not make it to the line. They can control the flat start but De Marchi will need to work his ass off on the hilly terrain for Nizzolo.
Ewan – I think this is a good stage for the pocket rocket. Short climbs, none of which are too steep. Lotto-Soudal have their win from the breakaway and there will be more chances, but chances are running out for Caleb Ewan. We do not know how well he is climbing, since he had a mechanical on stage 5. He has a strong team to help him, I think he will be in contention tomorrow.
Demare – who will be in a bit of trouble tomorrow. His team excels on flat terrain, but they do not have a lot of riders for hills. It will be all about Demare and you can make sure they will not allow Girmay and MvdP any free pass to get in the morning move. Demare is now in Giro-mode – that means he OVERPERFORMS… I think he will be hard to drop after a rest day.
Gaviria – another man who stayed in the peloton on stage 5. UAE have a great team but may not have a lot of helpers for Gaviria. He has been close several times, I think this is one of their best chances to get a stage win. In a reduced sprint, he stands a very good chance of taking a win.
Cort – breakaway contender / top-10 in the bunch sprint.
Vendrame – breakaway contender / top-10 in the bunch sprint.
Albanese – breakaway contender / top-10 in the bunch sprint.
Schmid – breakaway contender / top-10 in the bunch sprint.
Who will win?
Well, it is up to FDJ if the morning break will go or not, Girmay will not be allowed in the breakaway. That puts Intermarché in a position where they must chase to get a win. Another team will help, likely Israel – PT – therefore I do not think the breakaway has a chance.
In the end, I will go for Gaviria. He has impressed me since Romandie and has been close on two occasions. The cross-headwind will make it easier for the sprinters.