A flat stage with a hilly finale.
This should be a small test for some of the sprinters. There are two short hills within the last 3.6 km.
The first (3.6 km – 2.7 km), 900m at 5.3%.
The last (850m – finish), 850m at 4.9%.
We have seen a few uphill finishes such as this. Paris-Nice stage 3, Tour de la Provence stage 2 and Catalunya stage 1 come to mind.
The wind will come from the west (4 m/s). It should not be enough for echelons. It will be very hot as usual.
How will the stage unfold?
It depends on how many teams think their sprinter can win the stage. Certainly, Trek-Segafredo will do their job for Mads Pedersen, but it is not a finish that suits Merlier or Groves. I think both teams will be keen to work, as it is their best option. Cofidis should be in the mix, Coquard is fantastic at these finales. Bora-Hansgrohe should do their job for DvP too, he normally does quite well in uphill sprints. I think there will be more than enough teams to work for a sprint tomorrow.
A look at the technical part of the sprint.
First uphill with 3.6 km out is on a wide road. It will be uphill, so the sprinters who may struggle a bit with climbing should aim to be at the very front here. They should do that to limit their loss of positions as it is likely GC teams want to be at the front too, to stay out of accidents.
On the descent, you want to be at the front. Everyone who wants a piece of the cake will be at the front. The tension will be sky high. They work their way down to a flat section where the speed will be enormous due to the descent.
900 meters to go, and the last climb of the day begins. It is more of a bend, but it will stretch things out. Being at the near front will save you energy.
Then the last climb. Quite simply, one bend in the road and a corner to the line. A headwind sprint.
Pedersen – tomorrow is by far the best chance he has of a stage win so far, despite him having multiple good results. This is a Mads Pedersen finish. Kirsch will be crucial, but I do think they will take the front with a storm on the first of the two climbs and control the finale.
Coquard – Le Coq is also a known rider for performing well at these finishes. Where his top speed normally is a bit too low, the hill evens it out for him. I could see him stick to Mads P’s wheel and just try and jump off his wheel very late.
Danny van Poppel – I think he will go well tomorrow. He has the same thing about him as Coquard, the hill will make it easier for him. It is clear to see he is in good form and I do think he will be close to the win tomorrow.
Impey – he looked good in the first few stages, tomorrow is a good finish for him too. I am not sure how well Bevin is going, but the team does have a few strong engines to get him into a decent position.
Merlier – is it too difficult for him? It will feel like a very hard sprint for him and the weather will not be his friend. I doubt he will win.
Groves – see above to some extent. He does have a strong team, fully committed, and he did finish in the top-10 in an uphill sprint in the Tour of Turkey this season.
Pacher – we have not seen a lot from him since the first stages, but tomorrow is another good stage for him.
Fred Wright – let’s see if he will contest the sprint. He could end up with another strong result.
Roglic – he looks better and better. A solid result for him.
Teunissen – allowed to sprint? I doubt it, but he would do better than his captain.
⭐⭐⭐ Coquard, Van Poppel
⭐⭐ Groves, Roglic, Pacher
⭐ Impey, Merlier, Wright, Teunissen.
Who will win?
I will take a win for Mads Pedersen.