It should be another stage for the sprinters.
Another very flat stage. They start heading north for the first 37 km before turning south all the way to the farthest point south on the profile. They turn back around, before heading west towards the finish.
Despite PCS saying we have had this finish before, I just can’t see to find it. The last corner is more than 5 km out. It is the easiest of the four sprints in terms of technicality.
4-5 m/s winds from the N/NW. Warm and sunny. Another headwind sprint.
Today, we saw just how difficult it was to time right. Tomorrow, it can be even more difficult as there is no corner to aim for. Starting further back is wise, or at least moving up late. Especially when the run-in long. Another thing is, the sprint trains are not very coherent.
Merlier – the train isn’t working. He lost the wheel on Welsford in the sprint today, making him take the wind for too long. That likely cost him a better placement. Quickstep are best, when they get lead out by a teammate. I hope to see them up their game.
Bennett – plenty of speed but his position was awful. Had the stage been 100 meters longer, he could really have benefitted from the draft in the sprint. Tomorrow, the best lead-out rider here must do a better job if Bennett is to win.
Kooij – he and the train did superb today. He is as quick as the fastest here and it wasn’t much that cost him the win. Despite him starting his sprint in prime position today, he still couldn’t win.
Welsford – what a sprint. 300 meters out in a headwind and finishing 3rd. I think his sprint today finally made me realize just how good of a sprinter he is. With his speed and perhaps starting his sprint further back, he could win.
Gaviria – mistiming today if you ask me. I still like the move, trying to bridge across and jump of the Bahrain rider. He just ended up sprint 400 meters into straight headwind. If he finds a wheel to follow he still has the speed to take a win.
Molano – perfect. Staying in the perfect wheel starting the sprint with 150 meters to go on the inside. That is what experience gets you. Tomorrow could be another stellar chance if it will be as chaotic inside the flamme rouge.
Ewan – as suspected, struggled today. He had a good position but was boxed in a few times and didn’t really get to sprint. That is one of the issues having 15 good sprinters here and Ewan finding it difficult to get a good wheel.
Who will win?
Mind says Ewan – he loves this finale. Heart says Welsford, he truely impressed me today. The winner will be Australian, but I will go for Welsford. His sprint today was fantastic despite only finishing 3rd.