What a Queen stage – but don’t worry, we got a few more mountains tomorrow. The stage has 3800 climbing meters.
A climb at the very start and then a very long downhill onto hilly terrain. In the end, two major climbs.
We kick the stage off with a climb. Something the breakaway hopes will love. Most of the harder stages have had a flat start. This means a few contenders have had a hard time getting in to the right breakaway- That is likely to chance tomorrow.
The peninsulate climb. It is a difficult one. The following descent has a lot of switchbacks.
The last climb. It starts off very difficult for the first 7 km but then gets easier. From the end of the profile below, there are 3.9 km left. Most of it is downhill.
A day without much wind. A bit cold in the mountains, warmer in the valleys and with rain throughout the day, but less than today.
How will the stage unfold?
I was wrong. It was Astana who took up the job to try and threaten Carapaz, later it was Bahrain but they messed it up. I think tomorrow is a great opportunity for Bora-Hansgrohe, it just feels like they are not 100% behind Hindley. If they want to make real damage, they need to have Kämna pull for them too.
The early climb makes it ideal for the breakaway. If it does not form there, well – it may not be strong enough to go all the way. Two very difficult climbs at the end, also enhance the chance of the breakaway. On the other hand, it means the GC teams will not ride a hard tempo for the first 122.5 km.
Break or GC? Since it is the Giro d’Italia, it is a day for the breakaway.
Simon Yates – was in the breakaway today but did not follow the right moves. It did not look like a man who was dropped but rather a tactical decision. BikeExchange knows there is another change tomorrow and this time the stage is shorter – something very good for the Brit.
Lucas Hamilton – he keeps impressing me. A duo with him and Yates is bound to win a mountain stage in the third week. He did climb with some of the very best today – he is just looking fantastic.
Bauke Mollema missed the breakaway today. I think 5000 meters would have been too much for him. Tomorrow, the finale will be difficult for him, but never underestimate the Dutch rider. He knows when to attack and use his energy.
Rein Taaramae – I have been hyping him the whole race after I hoped he would win on Etna. I still think the man has something hidden in the legs. With Pozzovivo losing time and Rota + Hirt going in the break today, he is bound to try tomorrow.
Dombrowski – he did do an effort for Nibali today but lost a fair bit of time. The man knows how to hunt stages in a GT but he has been hitting the wrong breakaways.
Kelderman – I think he is the best Bora-Hansgrohe option tomorrow. On paper, he is more of a climber than Kämna. He rarely wins, but he has looked very good the whole race.
Hindley – GC option #1
Carapaz – GC option #2
Landa – GC option #3
Almeida – GC option #4
Who will win?
A day for BikeExchange. I think people will look at Yates and that will open up an opportunity for Lucas Hamilton.