The breakaway took the day as fortold. Tomorrow is a shorter day with a climb positioned in the first half. What will the motives of the teams be? Some have said this is the last chance for the sprinters, but some may stick around for stage 18 as well. It is similar to stage 5 with a climb finishing around 100 km from the finish. The stage has 1450 climbing meters.
Starting in San Remo, the riders head north towards Cuneo.
Some will say it is too far from the start to have any real climbers in there, but we have seen on two occasions the breakaway does not form right off the bat. If it goes here, the sprinters – all of them – will be in trouble. They will need to manage their effort and come back to the front. In the meantime, the breakaway will be pushing on. From the top, there are 96.2 km left.
Comparison between stage 5 climb and stage 13 climb.
What you want to look for are the VVOM numbers. Objectively, tomorrow’s climber is easier than the one on stage 5.
A few twists and turns, the last one with 1.75 to go. The small turns with 0.75 and 0.5 km left shall be ignored, as they go straight through Piazza Galimberti according to the official profiles.
A tailwind for most of the day – lovely for the riders. It also means the tempo on the climb will be high. Once again, nice temperatures and no rain.
How will the stage unfold? xPless idea.
We have two teams who have had their sprinter abandon. Lotto-Soudal and Intermarché. That means we have FDJ, Quick-Step, UAE and Israel – PT as teams with a sprinter. Is that enough to get the breakaway back after the climb?
FDJ: They have two stage wins, the points jersey is very safe. We saw in 2020 they do not want to pull all day for a stage win.
Quick-Step: Cavendish will not survive the climb. Will everyone get behind the Manx missile? I’m unsure. No Mørkøv also makes it a bit more unlikely. On the other hand, it would not surprise me if they did but given he will drop further back than Demare/Nizzolo/Gaviria, they will not wait for him at the top to get another team to do the job.
Israel – PT: They want De Marchi in the breakaway and I have only seen them at the front on stage 5. They will have some guys suffering on the climb, but they should be able to bring Nizzolo back. I think they will go for a sprint if possible, but De Marchi should be allowed up the road. That means they are not 100% committed.
UAE: They do not give Gaviria a lot of support, he will hope to Oliviera and Richeze can help him stay in contention. They are yet to pace for Gaviria.
The sprinters will have an eye on the stage, but the shortness and question marks mentioned above make it hard just to go for the sprinters.
Demare – will have to rely on his team for taking the win. That means everyone will support him and they will ride at the front all day. Doing that, they will hurt their sprint train and it will not be as effective as it can be. Nonetheless, he probably starts as the big favorite tomorrow.
Gaviria – is climbing well but has no support. If he is dropped, it is bad luck. He will hope to land in a group that will help him back. He has been close on several occasions now, the stage win will be right around the corner.
Dainese – what a sprint the other day! Now that is a boost in confidence. He has been climbing well and the team will support Romain Bardet which means he is likely very alone if dropped. He climbed very well in the Vuelta last year, and I think he got the same legs.
Cavendish – how many riders will they attach to him? He will be dropped. He will be dropped as one of the first. If they are all committed, they stand a chance. They will hope some of the teams wait for them.
Nizzolo – is climbing well. It could be another good stage for Nizzolo who has been missing some speed. I think the further we get into a grand tour the better his chances are. I think Israel – PT will work for him tomorrow if De Marchi is not in the breakaway.
De Gendt – was he saving himself for today or for stage 14? We will find out tomorrow.
Kämna – missed the breakaway but was part of many attempts. I think he should wait for stage 14 – the finish tomorrow do not suit him.
De Marchi – a real shame he did not fight for the win on his birthday. Something he will use for perhaps another shot tomorrow.
Cort – reduced bunch sprint or sprint from the breakaway? He will like his odds.
Mauro Schmid – Cavendish duty? Likely, but not certain.
Who will win?
It has to be a day for the sprinters. 1450 climbing meters and the climb is so far from the finish. Israel PT and FDJ will take up the fight. The big guns will save their ammo for stage 14.
I will take a win for Arnaud Demare.