We will see a tough GC battle in the last 52 km.
Very simple and flat until the finale.
It kicks off with Brandenberg. Very difficult but likely too far out for the main move to come here.
After a plateau and a descent, the next climb is Aschau. Short and steep. With a long flat section afterwards, it is not where the race is decided.
According to me, this is where we find the ones who will be fighting for the win throughout the next days. The Kerschbaumer Sattel has some difficult digits. Here, from the top, there are just 11.75 km left of the stage.
It is a very fast descent until the last climb of the day. The road starts to rise 4.25 km out, but it is inside the last km it gets tough. 1 km at 9.5%. It suits the climbers with a punch!
Not a lot of wind, rainy and not very warm. A cold day.
How will the stage unfold?
I think it is up to INEOS to decide how decisive it will be. I think we will see the peloton get reduced throughout the finale, with the the Kerschbaumer Sattel (5km at 10.6%) proving to be where we see a group go. The question is, will they stay away or will it get back together? It depends on the size of the group.
If not, we see a GC sprint – if the group behind is willing to work together and has domestiques. Nonetheless, I expect INEOS to be in full control possible with Bora-Hansgrohe having a few numbers too. If Vlasov and an INEOS rider are out in front, I doubt there will be enough people willing to chase – meaning the winning group has been found.
Tao G. Hart – I have a gut feeling he is in terrific form. I expect him to be one of the best on the Kerschbaumer Sattel then the next question is who is with him. He packs a punch but there are still some here I would think can beat him in a uphill sprint.
Sivakov – second best INEOS option. He does well on steep climbs but does not pack much of a sprint. Still, he should be very vital – giving INEOS two options.
Buitrago – can he handle Kerschbaumer Sattel? If he is in good shape he can. We will have to see how well he goes since Tirreno – Adriatico was a poor showing. In an steep uphill sprint, few in this peloton can beat him.
Vlasov – on his good days he would start as the favorite. He did really well this time of year in 2022, and given he was on the podium at La Fleche Wallone in 2022, we know he can sprint uphill.
Carthy – I expect him to be among the best but he does not have the sprint to win.
Pozzovivo – see above.
⭐⭐ Tao G. Hart, Buitrago
⭐ Carthy, Pozzovivo, Sivakov
Who will win?
My money is on Vlasov. I’m expecting him to be near his best with the Giro approaching.