We are now in the last week. The GC is still fairly locked, but I do hope the one-day classic-looking stages will give us viewers a bit of excitement. If not, it looks like it has been sealed by Evenepoel. Tomorrow is one of the last chances for the sprinters. But is the finale too difficult? The stage has 1076 climbing meters, but flatter days sometimes fool the sprinters in the last week.
They start at the coast and move north towards Sevilla.
There are a few hills inside the finale. The first one you see is the Santiponce-Valenciana. 2.2 km at 5.1% should not be too difficult for the sprinters if they are positioned well. It will sap the energy of the pure sprinters, while Pedersen, Coquard and Van Poppel will be some of the sprinters benefitting.
Moving on to a closer look at the finale. Here, I mean the last 3.5 km. It is very, very similar to the finish we saw on stage 13. Almost identical, I will show you further down. It will be a bit more difficult to control since there are a few hundred meters that are above 10% – and someone may fancy an attack.
Here is the comparison. Almost the same length and the same amount of descending. But do remember, tomorrow the short climb 13 km out will sap the legs just a bit more.
Very hot and not very windy.
How will the stage unfold?
Just above 1000 climbing meters – everything in your brain wants a sprint. The finale makes it less likely. Why? Merlier and Groves found it too hard and will likely do as well tomorrow. That leaves most of the work at the hands of Trek-Segafredo and they hope for help from Cofidis (Coquard), Bora – Hansgrohe (Danny van Poppel) and UAE (Ackermann). You could even argue Bahrain – Victorious may ride for Fred Wright if he does not make the break.
The other scenario is the breakaway. We’ve seen Mads Pedersen in the Tour de France go for it – but that was because it was his best chance at taking a stage win. The were other sprinters faster than him. Tomorrow, he will be the fastest – most likely with a landslide.
I think the most likely scenario is an uphill bunch sprint but I will not rule out the possibility of a breakaway.
Mads Pedersen – he will start as the favorite, not something he does very often. All eyes will be on Trek-Segafredo tomorrow and I am sure they will work tirelessly to control the break. The first issue is if the breakaway is too big – but I doubt they will allow it. His team will use up helpers to catch the break, meaning he will likely rely on a few to position him well. It is his stage to lose.
Coquard – is a strong contender to finish on the podium again. He should have the team working for him tomorrow. They are not looking to be relegated, but a lot of teams are investing in points > results, meaning they need to squeeze everything out of the Vuelta they can. Coquard will be up there – it is a fantastic finish for him.
Ackermann – I was surprised to see him finishing third on the first day. He went very early as he saw things slow down. You can’t blame him, he got a lot out of him. The team will likely have Molano help him throughout the day, but I do not think they will invest a single rider to help catch the breakaway.
Danny van Poppel – was way out of position on stage 13 and that cost him a good result. I do imagine he will do far better tomorrow, meaning he will be one of the few that can challenge Mads Pedersen.
Roglic – we know he will be positioned well and now that he is feeling better, I expect him to pose a real threat for the stage. A few bonus seconds here and there can come a long way as he still need a lot of time.
Pacher – is a good contender for a good result, both from the peloton and a breakaway. A top-10 is highly likely.
Wright – is a good contender for a good result, both from the peloton and a breakaway. A top-10 is highly likely.
Battistella – is a good contender for a good result, both from the peloton and a breakaway. A top-10 is highly likely.
Impey – is a good contender for a good result, both from the peloton and a breakaway. A top-10 is highly likely.
Stannard – is a good contender for a good result, both from the peloton and a breakaway. A top-10 is highly likely.
⭐⭐⭐ Poppel, Coquard
⭐⭐ Roglic, Pacher, Wright
⭐ Impey, Stannard, Battistella, Ackermann
Who will win?
It looks to be another stage win for Pedersen.