The last stage of this edition. It will be another mountain stage, this top with a prober mountain top finish. It is another short stage with two climbs within the first 30.8 km, this will make sure a fairly strong break goes up the road.
The first two climbs. Expect a lot of riders wanting to get up the road, likely to get reeled in if it is too dangerous. JV will have to keep a watchful eye on riders trying to get up the road. A short descent and on to the next climb where they will try again.
Next is the Col de la Colombière. This is perhaps not hard enough for the GC teams to start and put pressure on eachother. We saw UNO-X trying to light it up on the peninsulate climb today but without much luck. From the bottom, there is a 10.5 km valley until the final climb. This is not good news for the breakaway.
The last one is difficult, but it is the first half that is the toughest. We will have to wait and see which teams will want to try and attack the leader’s jersey, perhaps more realistically, get a spot on the podium.
Another day with almost no wind at all. It will be quite warm too.
How will the stage unfold?
My mind is telling me that Roglic wants a stage win but he will not have his team work for it all day. I think they are more than happy with the situation at the moment and will just have to make sure anyone not dangerous will get in the morning breakaway.
As for Bahrain, FDJ, AG2R and UnoX – they all have a good chance of finishing on the podium. The gap from O’Connor on 3rd overall to 12th place (Chaves) is less than a minute. We will have to see when they will attack, I assume the last climb is the most obvious one. Gaudu did not look very good today, tomorrow will be even harder for him. Caruso and Haig did not live up to the expectations either but both O’Connor and Johannessen smell blood.
AG2R will not pull – their job is to defend the podium. Bahrain’s leaders did not look good, it would be very surprising to see them do the main effort. That leaves it up to Uno-X, will they animate the race again? I bet you they will. The question is how early. Then on to INEOS – Dunbar and Kwiatkowski were dropped early on and Tao did not look 100% either.
Roglic – is going to start as the favorite amongst the GC riders. The strongest today. If they sense the opportunity to take the stage win, they will but it will be up to the other teams to pace hard on Colombière. I think at least one team will, which means Roglic has a good chance at taking a stage win.
Vingegaard – seems like he is on track for the Tour. We will see how they will play him tomorrow. I assume he will be working and putting some numbers for Roglic. Stick to the plan.
O’Connor – he will have to respond to a lot of attacks tomorrow, it is his podium spot most are after.
Cras – I have been looking at him throughout the week, he climbed very well again today. He is not far behind on GC, but it is his last stage before a long break. I assume him to go all out.
McNulty – punctured on the way down for Col de la Croix de Fer and stormed his way back to the group. One could think why not rest up ahead of tomorrow? He is also quite close in the GC and I doubt they will be too happy to let him up the road.
Hirt – looking good so far after the Giro. The last climb tomorrow is very good for him, we will have to see if he is allowed up the road by the team.
Bouchard – form is very decent at the moment. I can imagine he may have to work for O’Connor.
Tiberi – won the Queen stage in Hungary. I have not read anything about him being unwell.
Who will win?
I think JV showed that they are not very easy to mess around with, but a lot of riders will be keen on taking the third-place spot. I will take a win for the breakaway, Jan Hirt has been sitting at the back of the peloton. I think he has been saving himself.