A won day classic where both the sprinters and the attackers stand a chance of winning.
Just 650 climbing meters make it a fairly easy race on paper. However, the Waseberg change that.
They do a total of three ascends. The last two are important. They do it with 24.8 km to go and 17 km to go.
From the last ascend, they turn east towards Hamburg. That means a tailwind on their way back.
Fairly easy, you’d want to stay on the left side of the road – that’s the shortest.
As I said, a tailwind home from the finale. It should stay dry too with temperatures around 20 C.
How will the race unfold?
It is usually a sprint finish this one but that wasn’t the case last year. We had Wout van Aert attacking, and the group made it to the line. What you need to do as a team is attack the last two ascends of Waseberg and try and leave the sprinters with as few helpers as possible.
Looking at the startlist, the attackers are lacking. All of the top sprinters are here besides Jakobsen and Philipsen and the same was almost the setting last year and that saw the attackers win.
It should be a sprint but I will not write the attackers off. UAE is the team to attack, they line up with Hirschi, Covi, Formolo, McNulty, Ulissi and Wellens.
Pedersen – comes straight from Denmark. I have come to a point where I simply do not think he ever gets tired. With Skujins, who is currently going well too and Kirsch he has a good chance of getting in a strong position for the sprint. I just do not think it is difficult enough for him.
De Lie – the harvester of 1.1 races. It is time to see him up against the best sprinters in the world. He can climb incredibly well for a rider of his size and has two wins the past week. We know sprinters on a streak are full of motivation but the team has decided to have Ewan here too. It is a strong team but I’m uncertain how much help he will have after Waseberg. Eenkhoorn and Van Gils likely and that is enough to challenge for the win.
Kooij – they bring the whole team around him. I think he will have Roosen and TvdS as main helpers in the finale. The rest of them will work to keep him near the front for ascends. I will argue he is one of the fastest riders here, and since many of the other teams do not have a very strong lead-out that makes him a favorites.
Merlier – is this on the difficult side for him? I think it is. It all depends if some will successfully set up a pace early enough to drop him. If they fail to do so Vernon, Van Tricht, Sénéchal and Lampaert may all prove to be the best lead-out there is. Imagine not giving this sprinter one Grand Tour to compete in, I think that is a shame.
Démare – he has won the race once and has six top-10s in total here. It is a race that is good for him. I think the move to Arkea is a smart one. It is difficult to be a sprinter who is not selected for a Grand Tour. Now it seems he has been sent to harvest UCI points for the remainder of the season and he should score some tomorrow.
Milan – I think this is a race that suits him. He goes well on short, steep inclines. The team is not bad to support him either. Arndt and Pasqualon are both riders, who can play a role in the finale. That means if it gets down to a sprint, he will have some of the best support in the peloton.
Coquard – the type of rider that will finish in the top-10.
Bettiol – attacker #1. Form has looked good after the Tour de France.
McNulty – attacker #2. Impressive TT at Worlds.
Wellens – attacker #3. Goes well on double-digits.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ De Lie
⭐⭐⭐ Pedersen, Kooij
⭐⭐ Milan, Démare, Merlier
⭐ Bettiol, Coquard, Wellens, McNulty
Who will win?
I think we will see a sprint, a win for De Lie.