We move into the terrain that suits the climbers tomorrow.
A very flat first half, a very hilly second half.
There is only really one climb to speak off. Côte de Thésy. Depending on where you argue the top is, the riders have 14.5 km left from the top.
And most of it is downhill.
Warm temperatures, no rain in sight. Not a lot of wind throughout the day.
How will the stage unfold?
Mikkel Bjerg, ladies and gentlemen. That was a big win for him, one of those wins that will take his career even further. Will UAE take up the challenge and try to defend the jersey? Surely not, their best shot still is A. Yates.
It is clear to me that JV are here for one thing only and that is total domination. Controlling the breakaway tomorrow may not be easy but at least the start is flat, meaning Van Hooydonck has to make sure none to threatening gets in the morning move.
So, I think the breakaway will be held in check. It has been so far. That means a GC battle. 2.9 km at 9.4% is difficult – the question is, who will attack? The climb comes at a very important point which you can’t se on the profile, right after a 140 degree left turn. Positioning is key! JV and INEOS are usually the teams that get this right.
Who will attack? Just out of shear intuition, I think the moves will come near the top. It is a risky business but often a rewarding one. Names go, Jorgensen, Carapaz and Alaphilippe – I don’t think they can help themselves. So an attack means JV has to chase, unless another team foolishly do his dirty work (this is what will happen). All in all, we either see a solo win from a late attack or reduced GC/puncheur sprint.
Vingegaard – it will be difficult to win. They best tactic is the attacking tactic. He looked like a rider who went very deep today. Tomorrow is not the most important GC day. He will send a signal asking the team to work throughout the day and attacking over the top. I think it is what they should do.
Hindley – some time trial today. I think he is there or thereabout being the top-5/10 climber in the world right now. He will not be dropped tomorrow, he will hope his kick help him secure a good result ahead of the Tour.
Alaphillipe – you never really know anymore. I hope he will be up there tomorrow. The team needs to back him up tomorrow, he stands a brilliant chance winning a reduced GC sprint. He is also excellent downhill – I wonder if he likes his chances more from an elite group.
Gaudu – has a good kick on him. Good enough to make sure he fights for the podium.
Carapaz – he has come here to carry on from Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes. Fast on the line and willing to attack. I think tomorrow could be a good day for him.
Ciccone – Another quick GC-man. He has a good kick to him. This year, he has seemed better than ever before.
Jorgensen – watch out for the attack!
A. Yates – likely will not be dropped but is not fast enough to sprint for the win.
Van Gils – he is one of the young guns who should be doing very well tomorrow. He is very fast in a flat sprint.
Onley – same goes for this guy. A top-10 however is the most likely result.
⭐⭐⭐ Ciccone, Carapaz
⭐⭐ Vingegaard, Gaudu, Van Gils
⭐ A. Yates, Jorgensen, Onley, Hindley
Who will win?
I do not think this sole climb is enough to create gaps in the GC. We will see a reduced sprint with another stage win for Loulou. He has kindly reminded us again how good he is, this time he will make sure we don’t forget again.