Starting in Roskilde, where we currently have the biggest music festival in Scandinavia going on and finishing in Nyborg on Fyn. This is the stage we have been talking about for a long time. The crossing of the Great Belt Bridge.
As mentioned, starting in one of the oldest cities of Denmark – Roskilde. Before they reach Kalundborg, we have three categorized climbs. These are some of the worst we can find. Before that, they go through Holbæk. A place where fans have made a beautiful tribute to Chris Anker Sørensen. An intermediate sprint in Kalundborg before going south through small, cozy villages along the coast.
Now, this is an area very close to the coast. It is your typical Danish scenery – fields and beaches. The roads are not very wide out in the countryside and get even more narrow with 60 km left where they head into a small camping area. These narrow roads bend their way through the countryside. It continues on until the Great Belt Bridge starting in Korsør.
The finale in Nyborg
The peloton will be very nervous heading onto the bridge as the wind can shatter GC dreams. It will be the wind that decides the excitement of the day.
On the bridge, the road is wide. Big enough for lorries to overtake one another. With 2.75 km, they drive off to a single lane that is slightly downhill. You want to be at the front at the bottom as they take two quick turns and go underneath the highway.
Now on a much smaller road, the peloton should be stretched out after the two quick turns. Then the next big fight starts at the straight going through the outskirts of Nyborg. A very important corner with 750m left. You can see the road rise a bit.
Over the top of the bridge, we have a slightly downhill finale that bends to the right until 100m left, then it bends a bit towards the left. The stage finishes just beside a McDonalds – I’m sure they will have a busy day.
The finale makes it tricky. You want to be the first team through the corner with 750 meters left, but there will be a sprint to be the first team over the bridge with 600 meters left. It should really be the team with a durable sprinter and a strong lead-out that take the day. You want to have a team that can put you at the front already from 3 km out and finishes it off in a very, very quick sprint.
I waiting until the morning to put out this preview due to the last hope of crosswinds. Unfortunately, it looks like a cross headwind from Kalundborg all the way to the finish in Nyborg. It is not optimal for echelons, but it does not discard their chances of them.
On the Great Belt Bridge, yr.no report 7 m/s from the S/SW. If it comes from the South, we see echelons.
DMI report 6 m/s from the S/SW too.
Windy directly S.
If DMI and Yr.no are correct, there is a chance of echelons. This also means a headwind sprint in Nyborg.
Jakobsen – he has the best sprint train here, by a mile. Mørkøv as lead-out, I expect Lampaert before him and possibly Senechal or Asgreen depending on who Quick-Step uses to control the morning breakaway. With the final and most important corner with 700m left, I think they have the best chance of taking the win. In the case of echelons, they have a very strong team too
Groenewegen – has had a good run-in to the race. It is a team with strong roulers, they should do fairly well in case of echelons. He has Mezgec as his last man, a duo that has done well this season and raced a lot together. I would expect to see him challenging for a stage win.
Ewan – without a prober sprint train. It is not a bad team on paper for a sprint, but he does not have a designated lead-out rider. One could hope they do a prober job and leave him at the wheel of Quick-Step’s sprint train. From there, he stands the best chance. And remember, he is the pocket rocket. He is very, very good in headwind sprints.
Phillipsen – with Sbaragli most likely as his last lead-out man, or perhaps MvdP. I think they have a decent team too, but no designated lead-out rider. Phillipsen is in my book a top-tier sprinter. He is very, very quick. His team should be able to keep him at the front on the Great Belt Bridge, but we will have to see how far up they can get him through the last corner.
Pedersen – with Stuyven and Kirsch primarily. It is a good trio, and they have done this a hundred times together it feels like. With a dream of the yellow jersey still alive, yet a little unrealistic, they hope for echelons to increase his chances of taking the stage win. He should be challenging for a top-5, he is good in the battle for position.
Wout van Aert – with Laporte. It is more than enough. The question is potential team duties if all hell breaks loose. In a flat sprint against this competition, I doubt he has the top speed to win but he can get very close. I expect him to fight for a top-5.
Who will win?
2/2 for the Wolfpack. A win for Jakobsen.