La Molina was more difficult than anticipated. It is now dead even between Roglic and Evenepoel. They get a day to rest, while the riders start moving towards the coast.
Starting off with an easier version of La Molina. It is 12.2 km at 5%. I expect a big fight to get in the breakaway. Then up or down all the way to the line more or less. With 2700 climbing meters, the stage is not as easy as it looks.
The most important part is the corner 500 meters out. If you are poorly positioned, you will not win.
A nasty headwind of 5 m/s throughout the stage. Bad news for the breakaway. Temperatures above 20 C plus dry roads.
How will the stage unfold?
This stage has got me thinking throughout the day. Who wants a sprint? It is not a lot of teams who brought a sprinter, but a top-10 results for most teams is something to write home about.
We have Alpecin-Fenix for Groves. That is for certain. Then the question is, will Cofidis ride for Coquard, Lotto-Soudal for Menten and INEOS for E. Hayter? Throw in IS-PT for Corbin Strong too.
I think there will be plenty of teams willing to work plus the headwind will make the life difficult for the breakaway.
Groves – he should be the fastest man here, as I see him as the only pure sprinter. He is not a half-bad climber either. The team is down to six riders, losing Sbaragli is not something they would have hoped for. I’m uncertain who his lead-out rider will be, but they will need to deliver him in a good spot.
Hayter – he just missed a few more watts on stage 1. He looked really good up until the last hundred meters. Sixth place is a good rebound after a long period with no racing. Just like Groves, it is difficult to point out who his last helper will be, he was very much alone on stage 1.
Menten – we will have to see if Selig survives all the climbing. If he does, Menten’s chances heavily increases. It should be another top-10 placement for the Belgian, potentially a top-5.
Coquard – he will be at the right spot at the right time tomorrow, it is what he does. Will he have the speed to win a boulevard sprint? I highly doubt it.
Corbin Strong – 15th on stage 1 was a bit poor. I also doubt he is quick enough to win a pan-flat sprint. He should be challenging for a top-5.
Kron – breakaway hope #1
Schelling – breakaway hope #2
Q. Simmons – breakaway hope #3
De Marchi – breakaway hope #4.
Who will win?
Position is key tomorrow but none of the sprinters have a very strong lead-out man. Therefore, I will go for the rider I think is the quickest, and that must be Kaden Groves.