One of the toughest one day races in Italy. The laps around Varese and not easy, and last year we had a very offensive ridden race. As you perhaps can see, the last two laps are the toughest as they starting taking a different circuit. Last year, the rain played a huge factor on the outcome.
The race has 3463 climbing meters.
We have two circuits. This is the first one. They do it eight and a half times before changing route.
It has two climbs. The first one they do on 11 times and is also the finale climb.
2.1 km at 4.5%
The second is more difficult but shorter in length. They do it 10 times in total.
1.1 km at 6.6%.
This is the finale lap. They do it twice. It has a much steeper climb.
1.5 km at 8.4% is where damage can be done. Near the top is where it is most difficult with 300 meters above 10%. This is also called the Morosolo.
The run-in has been used before, it is the first climb I mentioned with a flat finish.
Good weather conditions and almost no wind.
How will the race unfold?
UAE and INEOS have the two strongest teams with Bora-Hansgrohe and Movistar to follow. UAE seem to have a clear plan – all in for Pogacar. I am not sure they will do the same again tomorrow, but it was and is normally their game plan in one-day races with Pogacar starting. INEOS have no clear captain but it is a strong team who would like to be in every move. None of them looked very strong in Giro dell’Emilia but I can imagine a lot of them doing a heavy training block ahead of the last few races. Bora – Hansgrohe have Vlasov and Higuita. Two good puncheurs with a fast sprint. Movistar have Mas (to go long), the same for Jorgensen and possibly Valverde for a sprint.
I think INEOS will make the race selective as I do not see them waiting for a sprint. We will have to see how UAE responds. I think they will keep the pace high for Pogacar, if he doesn’t follow the move himself. It is normally a race that is split and then back together a few times. Therefore, having numbers is a good thing.
Another thing is, the climbers are going very well just now. The last few races have surprised me a bit as it has mostly been very strong climbers fighting for the wins. I think it is likely we see the same tomorrow.
UAE – they have their best lineup possible for this type of race. They controlled Giro dell’Emilia well, and I think it is most likely they want to do the same tomorrow. I think Pogacar is at his best when he makes a move early, but it is likely a lot of teams will be too strong for it to succeed tomorrow. In a reduced sprint, few can beat him too.
INEOS – a lot of stars so it is difficult to say who their best rider will be. I have a good eye on Tulett. He had a long break after the Giro d’Italia, but he is very good on courses like these. I think the safest option is Martinez or Rodriguez but I think their best rider will be Tulett.
Movistar – Mas and Valverde, Jorgensen to jump in the right moves. In my book, this is more suited for someone with a good finish. I doubt Mas can win solo, despite his current form. It suits Valverde from a sprint the most.
Bora – Hansgrohe – Vlasov and Higuita. Two very strong riders. I do think Higuita will go well here, he has done so in the past. Vlasov did not have great legs in Emilia, a race I think suited him very well. Therefore, I’m going with the Colombian.
EF – another strong team. Uran is going well at the moment. This is more medium mountain. Powless should go well here, the same can be said for Piccolo and Bettiol who was active before live pictures in Coppa Agostoni. I will go for Powless.
Rota – did a good WC. I expect him to continue his brilliant season. It reminds me a bit of Trefeo Laigueglia, a race he did well in back in March.
Skjelmose – the Dane is flying. It has been a long season for him, but he is the prime example on riders getting a lot better after their first GT. He is just brilliant. I am going to enjoy watching him against some of the very best in the world. This is his terrain.
Cosnefroy – always good in the Autumn. He has gone well here in the past. I think a top-10 is very likely. My biggest doubt is the amount of altitude meters. Sometimes he can cope with them, sometimes he can’t.
Bardet – not likely to win, but not likely you drop him.
Barguil – I think Barguil will finish inside the top-10 tomorrow. He is just consistent.
⭐⭐⭐ Valverde, Pogacar
⭐⭐ Barguil, Skjelmose, Powless
⭐ Cosnefroy, Rota, Tulett, Bardet
Who will win?
Bora – Hansgrohe should have two riders in the finale. I think Higuita will benefit from this.