Time for week 2.
Very hilly first 87.5 km, the more or less downhill and flat the last 108.5 km. The stage has close to 3000 meters of climbing.
Tomorrow, they are heading south.
Opening 87.5 km.
Constant up or down or flat. Difficult to set a rhythm here. I think there are a few sections, where the breakaway is likely to form.
- 2.6 km at 8.3% after 13.5 km of racing.
- 5.8 km at 5.9% after 56.4 km of racing.
- 2.6 km at 7.2% after 85.5 km of racing. Near the top.
So, three quite difficult climbs. It is good areas to look for attacks but to be fair, it can happen everywhere in the first 88.4 km. I will say one thing, you need a diesel to get in the breakaway tomorrow.
A long descent from the top. Loads of hairpins and in a forested area. The surface does not look new, there are plenty of cracks in the tarmac.
The long way home.
With a very simple finale.
It is going to be first day of the second week.
Wind is blowing from the south = tailwind/cross-tailwind all day. Rainy meaning the descent will be very wet. Get ready for the brakes making noises again.
How will the stage unfold?
Okay. 196 km. The first 2h / 2h30min are uphill. Then a long, tricky and wet descent and a nice tailwind home.
Now, we have INEOS in the Maglia Rosa. A lovely gift but you do not really want it just now. That means it can be borrowed out again. Who wants to chase?
Jayco – they can drop plenty of riders in the first 87.5 km but that leaves them with no to little helpers in the last 87.5 km.
Trek – it is a good Mads P stage. Problem is, he will likely only have a few helpers left too over the top.
Alpecin – same goes for Groves, he can handle the terrain. They don’t have the manpower either, as we saw on stage 6.
DSM – Dainese is quick enough to take a stage here. But can Leknessund and Vamhoucke chase all day? No way.
As for the others, don’t expect any other teams to help if they have a GC man. This stage could end up being about survival and just not crashing.
Who wants to join the breakaway? Here, we have strong teams such as EF and Quick-Step who likely want multiple riders out in front. Same likely goes for UAE, ISPT, Astana and FDJ.
Conclussion: I’m tipping towards the breakaway for this one. The descent will be ridden very cautiously meaning the gap for the breakaway will grow further here. Then, they have the long tailwind home.
EF – it is a good stage for Cort and Healy. Magnus is still not at his very best, it has taken longer time than expected. He should only grow stronger as the race approaches. After a TT and a rest day, I expect him to be a closer to his best. He packs the fastest sprint of many contenders from the break. Healy showed everyone what he can do. He is simply the breakthrough rider of the season. With a flat finale, they should look to set up Cort.
Covi – not the best race he is having but he usually goes well in the rain. As teams seem to have marked McNulty, try with Covi, he packs the better sprint too.
Velasco – currently looking to be the strongest man from Astana. He can climb and packs a decent sprint too.
Albanese – good be a very smart stage to join the break and hope for a reduced sprint from there.
Rota – I will just keep putting his name up here until he finally gets in the morning breakaway. He is good in rainy conditions.
Pedersen – fancy jumping in the breakaway? Why not, the team would have the Eritrean duo and Skujns to help him afterwards. It would be a very smart move.
Matthews – same goes for Matthews. It is a terrible day to control from the bunch and they would simply not be able to drop Groves or Matthews. Join the break, get Zana and De Marchi with you.
Groves – the numbers are dwindling. He is a favorite if it comes down to a sprint. I hope they send Oldani in the breakaway tomorrow or stage 11 – these stages suit him.
Milan – I expect the big man to be the favorite for a bunch sprint. It’s a boulevard sprint, he has Pasqualon and he will have a tailwind. The team will not join the chase with three riders to protect.
⭐⭐⭐ Pedersen, Matthews
⭐⭐ Groves, Healy, Albanese
⭐ Velasco, Milan, Rota, Covi
Who will win?
Alpecin will not ride for Groves – they lack numbers. It is not difficult enough for Jayco either, leaving Trek in the middle. Smartest thing is to hope to join the breakaway, after looking at the wind and rain, it should be their choice.
I think EF has the best team to win from the breakaway and Magnus Cort seems to be the rider, the finale suits the most. The Giro d’Italia often see a sprint from the breakaway and not too many solos. He just has to hope Pedersen or Matthews are not there with him.