The toughest day this year.
5000m of climbing and Col de la Loze takes us 2300m above sea level.
Where does the breakaway form?
The first two climbs is where it makes sense the most really. Col des Saisies (13 km at 5%) is the first chance. I think the fight for the breakaway will be so tense it may happen later.
On Cormet de Roselend (20 km at 6%), here the legs will decide who stands a chance of staying away.
I think the riders are so scared of Col de la Loze that Côte de Longefoy will be raced rather moderately in the peloton. It is time to eat, drink and piss around this area before the last climb.
14 km at 6.2%, before a short descent of 3.2 km. Then, 10.8 km at 8.7% with the last 6 km at 9.4%. Once again, remember the altitude. It is a different version than in 2020 but the last 11.2 km are the same as in 2020. This year, they’ve added a descent.
The descent I can’t tell you much about as there is no imagery but they do finish at a small runway that is mighty steep. I hope they have resurfaced it. It is short and fast.
And this is the runway. 400m of “was this really necessary?”.
How will the stage unfold?
I do not think any of us expected this today. One of them was going to win but not by that margin. That means tomorrow is a day where UAE really need to step up and use A. Yates offensively to tire out Vingegaard. That must be the plan. Send A. Yates attacking and hope Vingegaard at some point is without Kuss or any others, thereby making him do the dirty work on Col de la Loze.
What can Jumbo-Visma do to counter this? You’ve heard his name before, Wout van Aert will be in the breakaway. I think UAE should look to do the same with Soler. It is difficult to say when and where but Col de la Loze is a good guess.
It is a long climb and for the longest part of it, you don’t want to stick your nose in the wind. Once near the end, the best rider will emerge and take a stage win. It is that day, where everything can go wrong or right.
Vingegaard – after today, I do not think anyone can beat him. This is the stage where I thought he would get the yellow jersey and keep it to Paris. That means everything he has done prior has been above what I expected.
Pogacar – He will never stop attacking. I hope to see him being at his very best. Today, I feel you could spot some fatigue in his eyes. Tomorrow, he will be determined – and you know what kind of rider he is, when he reaches that mentatlity.
A. Yates – use him offensively! Attack and tire out Kuss.
Rodriguez – He will hope to stick around and get back on the podium. Today’s time trial was not a good indication that he can do that.
Bilbao – Col de la Loze is a diesel climb, one that suits him. And on the descent back, time can be gained.
S. Yates – we are late in a Grand Tour. That means flipping a coin. I will go with he will do well.
Gaudu – 10th in the TT? Where did that come from. It means he may have hit form a bit too late. He could surprise a few tomorrow.
Gall – Breakaway hope #1
Landa – Breakaway hope #2
Pidcock – Breakaway hope #3
⭐⭐⭐ Gaudu, Pogacar
⭐⭐ A. Yates, Rodriguez, Bilbao
⭐ Landa, Gall, Pidcock, S. Yates
Who will win?