Another day with plenty of climbing meters. However, it does not look very difficult if you ask me.
Once more, they do laps. The gradients are not high on the circuit, in fact, it merely has 1.8km above 6%. That means you still get a lot of benefits from drafting
You will notice the steep incline 11 km from the line. It is possible for a team to put the hammer down. They key is your positioning as a sprinter. If you start at the front and drift back, it is possible to survive. It all depends on who wants what on the climb.
Last 5 km.
My veloviewer tells me 5 km at 2.8%, Sanluca tells me 5km at 4.1%. From what I can see, also by the ASO profiles, is the fact that it is a tough finale. It is a very long drag where you have sections of 1.1 km at 5.1%, a flat before 600m at 3.9%, before another flat and then 1.1 km at 4.3%. It is not very difficult gradients but it will play a factor.
Another day where the rain can play a factor but it looks like it won’t rain as much as today. Basically no wind at all. Headwind from the climb to the line.
How will the stage unfold?
So, JV are willing to ride for Laporte – now he has his stage win. Do they want one more? They will. Once more, it is up or down all day. Difficult to control. I think Jayco and Bora once more will ride for the sprint and hope to see their sprinters get better day by day, why else would they be here? It was just a bit too difficult for Vernon, I think he stands a better change tomorrow.
I think we will see a sprint but it is not for certain. Côte des Guetes (1 km at 7.5%) is just 10.8 km from the line. They do it twice, it must be here teams will try to get rid of Groenewegen and Bennett. The uphill drag to the line also makes it interesting to see if the puncheurs want to get in the mix. It will be a reduced bunch sprint but I do think Vernon is a man capable of being in contention for the sprint.
Laporte – it was very important he could finish of the lead-out by his team. That is why it is important to monitor the morning moves, I was surprised to see them let such a strong group go. Tomorrow is another great chance, a real strong-man sprint which suits him very well.
Trentin – second today was more than I thought but bad weather also adds to the toughness of a stage. Tomorrow, he should be up there too.
Vernon – I was surprised he was dropped – he almost made it. Tomorrow is easier, it is a shorter climbing effort. He just needs to be in a strong position at the bottom of Côte des Guetes (1 km at 7.5%), then he should be fine.
Bennett – tomorrow should be better for him but he has not climbed well this year. I would be surprised to see him sprint.
Groenewegen – another training day. The same goes for him, he will hope to survive to get better and better.
Zingle – a top-5 is likely tomorrow.
Wright – the same goes for Wright. A strong-man sprint is his cup of tea.
Sean Quinn – usually goes very well in an half-flat sprint. Quicker than you think.
Van Gils – not quick enough to win but quick enough to challenge for the podium.
Cavagna – late attack or breakaway? Lost 6 minutes today. Depends if they go for Vernon.
⭐⭐⭐ Trentin, Vernon
⭐⭐ Zingle , Wright, Van Gils
⭐ Bennett, Groenwegen, Cavagna, Quinn
Who will win?
I think JV will control the day – they can do so as most of them can use the time trial on stage four to rest. On the last climb, as we’ve seen before, they will smash it. It is mostly downhill there until the 5k mark, where it starts rising. This means one or two things, 1: sprinters are at their limit and will blow up or 2: sprinters are very far back.
I will go two for two – Christophe Laporte will win again.