A finish very similar to the one in 2021, the stage Astana did a 1-2.
A hilly day before La Asturiana which in 2021 was not hard enough to create many gaps.
The climb itself is steepest at the bottom. A bunch sprint to the left turn that brings them on the climb.
In 2021, we saw Aranburu take a solo after attacking on the descent. However, the run in to the line is a bit different but the distance from the top of La Asturiana to the line is about the same. The first 2.8 km of the climb are 9.2%. You can see it gets easier and the hairpins on the way down are tricky!
Another day with great weather.
How will the stage unfold?
I will be boring and say a weak break gets up the road. It is easy to control the stage. Then, the pace will pick up as they approach the climb. All the favorites will still have domestiques to help. We may see a long range attack or two on the steep part of the climb but JV will likely set up a fierce pace.
I think JV will try to have atleast one domestique over the top. Now, Valter has improved a lot since joining the team but attacks will create a gap. Jonas will follow if it is a GC threat. Once on the descent, we will see a few riders trying their luck. Keep an eye on Aranburu, Landa and Ion Izagirre.
Once they near the line, we should see a group of 10-20 riders sprint it out, but a smaller group could be out in front.
Vingegaard – he rarely wins when the stage does not end uphill. Today was a great performance, I am fairly certain after watching that he would have won even without the Shimano-Man being in the wrong place. They can’t drop him on the climb. He did do a very fine sprint at stage 8 of Paris – Nice but I still have my doubts.
Landa – he will attack tomorrow. He is going very well just now. I just do not see him taking a solo win, he does not have a great sprint.
Gaudu – a fast sprint for a small climber. If we see a scenario where only the top GC riders get over the crest together and sprints for the win, he will be the favorite. I just think that scenario is highly doubtful. The thing is, how fast is he on a flat sprint? Not as good as an uphill sprint.
Izagirre – I think we will see him attacking on the descent and see who he can bring to the line. He is always at his best here. He is a very good sprinter from a small group.
Mas – no way he wins solo. Same category as Landa.
Skjelmose – the Dane is very fast in a sprint. You do not win a stage in Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, beating names as Powless, Turgis, B. Thomas and Venturini by being slow. If they bring him to the line, which they likely will, he will outsprint most of the riders mentioned here.
Aranburu – at his very best. Will he trust his sprint or look to repeat his 2021 win? Now, there is also the option he may have to ride for Mas. He is one of the favorites.
Higuita – unlucky today when he tried to move up. Very quick on the line but I think he prefers a slightly uphill sprint.
McNulty – I think he will attack tomorrow once near the crest of the climb and solo. He is the type of rider that could pull it off.
Martinez – still almost a minute off Vingegaard. That gives him freedom. He is quick in a sprint, just think back to this very race in 2022, beating Ulissi, Bilbao, Loulou and Roglic in a flat sprint.
⭐⭐⭐ Higuita, Aranburu
⭐⭐ Vingegaard, Izagirre, Martinez
⭐ Mas, Landa, McNulty, Gaudu
Who will win?
Get ready for the first WT-win for Skjelmose. He will win a reduced GC sprint.