After the first GC battle today, tomorrow is another chance for the puncheurs.
3300 climbing meters and a difficult start to control.
Zieleniec to the line.
Zieleniec is a long climb, 11 km at 4%. I really doubt it will drop any GC men. After the descent, the most imporant thing is to be in a good position.
You want to be near the front already with 2 km to go. This is where the road starts to rise and we have to quick left turns. This is the last 2 km.
It gets very steep inside the last km. You see the sharp left turn, this is where you want to be in second wheel.
After this turn, it is 750m at 9.9%. The road surface is after the turn is unknown.
It will be dry not very hot.
How will the stage unfold?
Looking at this stage, I am a bit uncertain how it will go. You could argue a breakaway could go up the road but I think we will see Bahrain – Victorious and UAE be very keen to control it. Then, when the dust has settled, will we see the sprinters try their luck for this stage?
It sounds odd, yes – but think back to Etoile des Besseges stage 1 or the Hatta Dam climb in UAE (I’m not sure that is the correct name). But, sprinters can deal with this. Or some of them can. It also flattens out near the top, a few sprinters in the world could have been strong candidates here. De Lie, Pedersen or Wout van Aert for that matter.
Conclusion: The breakaway will not sail away. We will see a mix of GC riders puncheurs and a few sprinters hoping they have what it takes. One thing is for certain, if you sit too far back after the last turn, it is game over.
Mohoric – took an impressive win today. It feels very odd he is not going to Worlds given the form he has. Tomorrow is another good chance for him, I feel it will be difficult taking the jersey off him before the TT.
Almeida – second today, he can be pleased. He knows he just has to follow Mohoric and close the deal against the clock. He will fight for the win again tomorrow.
Onley – it will be another stage where he hopes to fight for one of the spots on the podium.
Kwiatkowski – the same goes for Kwiatkowski. He has the team too keep him near the front tomorrow, something that will be very vital.
Van Wilder – fifth today shows he is ready for the second part of the season. I think 5th tomorrow is a realistic shot again, Quick-Step has a strong team that can keep him near the front.
Battistella – he will likely be alone in the closing kilometers but he should be able to score a top-10.
Dunbar – they will not drop him but he will likely not win.
Ackermann – the first sprinter that comes to mind. It is very unlikely but on his best days, he is a dark horse.
Kron – breakaway hope #1
Herregodts – breakaway contender #2
⭐⭐⭐ Kwiatkowski, Almeida
⭐⭐ Battistella, Dunbar, Onley
⭐ Herregodts, Kron, Ackermann, Dunbar
Who will win?
I will go for Mohoric. His strength today was impressive and the easier finale should suit him.