Another day with hilly terrain.
A flat start for the opening 45 km. Not really much of a hill in there. From there on, it gets hilly with a categorized climb. It is the last where a breakaway can form. A long flat again before the climbs start to have an impact on the outcome.
This is a detailed look at the finale.
Col des Aravis is a very steady climb. We have 18.6 km from home at the top. It is not difficult enough for GC action.
After the descent the riders have just 6.7 km left at 7%. The approach to the first climb is crucial, positioning is key. Therefore, the teams with a GC rider will try to get first over Col des Aravis. At the foot of Côte de Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, there are loads of hairpins. There is a shot descent to catch your breath, 900m, it will take just a few seconds.
The last climb difficult to determine – I have taken from the foot to the top.
It is 2km at 8.3%.
Then 400m at -1.3%
They are going to come flying across the line.
The wind will not play a noticeable role tomorrow. There is a small, small chance of rain in the last 26.3 km. It should be a few raindrops, nothing more.
How will this stage unfold?
Vingegaard has already been sending a clear signal. He is stronger than everyone else. Personally, I thought he would wait for the mountains. Jumbo-Visma has three stage wins in five stages. Tomorrow is one of those transport-days for the Alps. I think they will be keen on letting the breakaway go and save a bit of energy for the two demanding days this weekend. Are they willing to give up the jersey with the goal to work less in the weekend? I doubt it.
Is anyone here to spoil it from being a breakaway win? EF pulled today, setting up Carapaz to watch him leave out the backdoor. Soudal for Quick-Step but Loulou did not have the same legs as Carapaz or Vingegaard either. UAE for Bjerg – a shame he crashed but A. Yates did not have a respond either.
The thing is, it is easy to control the opening 40 km – the route is flat – meaning rouleurs will be in the breakaway. If the breakaway forms late (on the first cat 2 climb), well – they stand a better chance of having strong climbers up there.
Conclusion: A stage win is up for grasps, also by the GC men. A flat sprint is the best shot you got at beating Vingegaard? I think we will see two finales. One from the breakaway, one from the GC men. The thing is, the GC men can only create small gaps tomorrow, no need to burn a match you need for stage 7 or 8.
Well, if 3:30 – 4:00 behind Vingegaard is the fine line, perhaps even lower if they know it is a rider who can’t keep it after stage 7, that is the line we will go with. Remember, the most likely place the breakaway forms is on the flat terrain.
Fred Wright (2:55) – he is clearly going great and this should be a good looking stage for him, if we look back at the results he got at La Vuelta in 2022. The issue is, he sits under three minutes from Vingegaard and Jack Haig is doing well in the GC. There are too many factors going against him. If we see a reduced bunch sprint, he could be a man to look out for.
Sean Quinn (3:05) – too close in the GC? With Carapaz blowing out the back door today, it is time to let Quinn get his own shot. I think he can do rather well and should be just the type of rider allowed in the breakaway, as he is still flying under the radar for some.
Champoussin (3:11) – he is not enjoying his best season so far, but he is a rider who could win from the breakaway. He often has issues on long and steep slopes, therefore tomorrows medium-mountains should be good for him. Is he too much of a threat? I would not give him too much of a lead.
Valentin Madouas (9:00) – with Gaudu looking a bit far off his best shape, the French rider should be allowed up the road tomorrow. He has not showed any sign of his current level and that makes him a bit of a gamble tomorrow. He has the power on the flat to make the move and the attributes for climbing too. He is not half bad in a sprint either. Hopefully, the legs are there.
Rune Herregodts (10.25) – we know the legs are there, we know he will likely make the breakaway as it is formed on the flat. He should be able to cope with the climbs, they are not very long or very steep tomorrow. He is the ultimate fuga-de-la-fuga rider, expect him to attack in the breakaway. People should know by now to follow him instantly.
Matteo Jorgensen (11:20) – had a crash on stage in stage 3. 18th in the TT was a good sign, todays result not that good. I assume he has rested up today. Mas is pretty much out of the GC battle, meaning Jorgensen should have a free card to hunt a stage win. Hopefully, he has recovered. If he is, good luck beating him.
Remi Cavagna (17:43) – talking about power on flat terrain, the TGV train comes to mind. He falls into the same category as Herregodts, he is going well and he is very difficult to reel back in once he gets a gap. Will he be on Alaphillipe duty?
Vingegaard – will be difficult to drop from the GC group. Not the fastest sprinter but he can likely just drop them on the climb!
Alaphillipe – should be more up his alley tomorrow as the last climb is a little easier. Few beat him in a flat sprint.
Johannessen – the Norweigan seems to be the man who can beat him on the flat. Some speed he has! I’m happy to see him bounce back after a tough start to the season.
⭐⭐ Wright, Quinn, Cavagna
⭐ Vingegaard, Alaphillipe, Johannesen, Champoussin
Who will win?
I think Jorgensen has recovered. The American to take a win.