The echelon drama was quite a boring affair. Nonetheless, I think the wind made the stage a bit more exciting than it normally would have been. Tomorrow’s stage has 2600 climbing meters.
From Parma to the coast in Genova.
We have three. The first two are not too difficult. The last is the hardest and it can be seen below. Its top is with 30.8 km left – something the sprinters do not like.
Then we have a few small climbs between the climb above and the finish. A lot of bridges and tunnels will make for a very interesting finale!
There is seven km left after this section. All of them are relatively easy.
A tailwind most of the day and almost no wind near Genova near the coast. Nice weather and a small chance of rain in the finale.
How will the stage unfold?
2600 climbing meters and the nasty finale will make it unlikely any sprinters are up for controlling 200 km. The easy start means the climbers will not get in the breakaway, so I would look for riders with a big diesel tomorrow. The last “big” climb can be selective enough but 30 km is a long solo. I think a few riders will sneak away – perhaps up to four-five riders, then we will see who is the sneakiest and best on the technical part near the airport. If it comes down to a sprint, you never know who has the legs.
FDJ will not pull, the points jersey is safe. UAE does not give two shits about Gaviria. Cavendish will likely drop on the last climb. Israel – PT has not looked very determined for Nizzolo.
Mathieu van der Poel – no mass sprint today. He is saving himself for this one. It suits him, but the climb could be just a bit too long for his liking. I think he can manage, it looks like a 15-minute effort. I do not think a lot can follow him on the narrow paths around the airport. It is very technical and has plenty of acceleration. In a sprint, few beat him in the breakaway.
Magnus Cort – missed the splits on stage 10, a bit disappointing I must say. He is slowly getting there, and once he gets in the breakaway, he knows how to close it out. I think this is a very, very good stage for Cort.
Lennard Kämna – time to get up the road again. He can really pressure some of the others in the breakaway on the climb. He will look to drop the riders quicker than him on the line. The flat start should not be a problem for him,
Felline – has been looking consistent, the only Astana hope I have for tomorrow. He did well on stage 8 and finished with the favorites on stage 10. The form is good – we will have to see if he has what it takes to take a very big win.
De Marchi – I think he is just flying now. We got a glimpse of it the other day. A big engine, he want to attack from afar and just put the hammer down. The flat start is perfect for him.
De Gendt – see above. I would be thrilled to see him win twice here.
Schmid – has looked very good I feel he is too inexperienced in the finales. Always pulling or attacking. He needs to play his cards better even though he is a class rider already.
Juul-Jensen – I might be dreaming or biased, but the Dane did try on stage 10. He is a very strong road captain, and he can put immense power down when it matters. He is also a far better climber than many think of him.
INEOS – come on, just give Narvaez or Tulett one day to have fun.
Your usual suspects – Vendrame and Albanese. Another top-10 for the collection.
Who will win?
Mathieu van der Poel. It is your time to shine.