If you thought the best riders where all in Dauphiné, some of them are in Suisse too.
Usually, they have a prologue here. This year, they’ve gone for an opening time trial instead. Just looking at the length and vertical meters, it really does look like the opening time trial in Copenhagen for the Tour de France last year.
We should see a sprint. The Oberarig may be just to difficult for some of them.
A GC day. Still, it should be more or less a whole peloton that gets to the foot of Villars-Sur-Ollon. It was the mountain from the mountain time trial last year, 10 km at 8% is tough enough to create GC gaps.
This one has a lot of climbing too. The last climb is categorized as 19 km at 5%. The first part of the climb, you see is 7.4 km at 8.6%, the second part 6.2 km at 6% and after the dip going to the ramp for the finish, we have 900m at 6.6%. It is tougher than it looks.
Time to get up in high altitudes! 4300 climbing meters, most of it is early. This could be a great day for the breakaway. The riders have Albulapass which seems to gradually get easier as the climb it.
A long stage. Mountains at the start and steep hills near the end. A very good looking stage, one that suits the GC men who fancies a one-day race.
It should be a day for the breakaway this one, maybe the sprinters if they can and will control it.
A long time trial to finish off the race.
To win here, you need these attributes if you ask me.
- A good time trial list. We have 38.7 km of time trial.
- That goes with a dieselclimber. It is not often steeper than 8%.
- Being able to cope with high altitudes. Albulapass is 2311 meters above sea level and to me, it looks like an important GC day.
- Have a good understanding on how to approach stage 6. It looks like they’ve tried to recreate an easier version of stage 5 from 2022 – a fantastic stage.
Pidcock – he seems to be the GC man from INEOS, and I like it. I think the focus this year perhaps has changed more towards climbing which suits his small stature. The main issue is, he is not very good against the clock.
Gall – a good consistent season he is having. He will be good enough to challenge for a top-10 spot. His main issue too is having a poor time trial.
Bilbao – the form looks good for the ever consistent Basque Rider. He will minimize the damage against the clock and he will be one of the best on the climbs, as he is a diesel. I expect him to challenge for the podium.
Mäder – Bahrain bring two options which is really smart. Mäder is something else on home roads, and after having Tour de Romandie destroyed by covid, he will be eager for redemption. The main issue will be against the clock, he will be difficult to drop once they go uphill.
Powless – I think I may have been turned into a fanboy of his. He is simply just one of my favorite riders. He has been better this year than ever and he can cope with the climbing and the hilly stages. How much time will he lose against the clock? Propably too much for the podium.
Jumbo-Visma – who are they going for? It seems Kelderman, a rider with just six completed stages this year. He is good against the clock, likely even better with JV’s setup. The climbs suit him, he is a diesel. How about the hilly stages? He will have Wout van Aert to help him, which will play a big role. I imagine he is close to being good enough for a top-5. I would keep an eye on Rohan Dennis, he finished the Giro off with good legs.
Evenepoel – comes here as the favorite! Recovering from Covid-19 is always difficult, we are merely a month in after he tested positive. The time trials are a big advantage, and since most of the climbing is done around 7-8%, he should go well – also on the hillier days. The main issue is the high altitude stage and his recovering from Covid-19.
Skjelmose – the Dane is also very consistent but he does sometimes struggle with longer climbs. He will be one of the better GC contenders against the clock but my gut feeling is that the climbs will prove to difficult for him. Hopefully, he proves me wrong.
Ayuso – I think he is the better option than Vine. He has only raced one race this year as he recovered from an injury in the spring. I expect him to be the 2nd biggest favorite for this race.
⭐⭐⭐ Bilbao, Evenepoel
⭐⭐ Mäder, Kelderman, Skjelmose
⭐ Dennis, Gall, Pidcock, Powless
Who will win?
I do not think Evenepoel has recovered. I will take a win for Juan Ayuso.