Another stage finishing in Barcelona. The Castell de Montjuic will play a big role, especially due to the bonus seconds (6, 4 & 2).
A good amount of climbing in the first part of the race. It will be interesting to see who controls the day and who decides to go for the KOM jersey.
Starts far out. Everyone wants to be at the front with 9 km to go. That is when we move into Barcelona. It is up or down with many corners before the last 5 km.
Those you have here. The pace will be very high and attacks will come on Castell de Montjuic. Then, it is mostly a descend to the line.
Castell de Montjuic. Remeber, bonus seconds at the top. The road up here is fairly wide for such a climb. You’d still want to be near the front so you don’t waste energy moving up. It is a 2 minute effort.
The descend is on wide roads and no sharp bends. Then, we have the run-in. Last 200m at 4%.
Not a lot of win but there is a chance of rain throughout the stage.
How will the race unfold?
Jumbo-Visma – time to set up Roglic. He can contest for the bonus seconds at the top of the climb and he is fast enough to contest for the stage win. Their faces after the finish tells me they are confident but it is time for damage control tomorrow.
Quick-Step – I think this is a day where they must try to set Evenepoel up. He knows the climb well from Volta a Catalunya. The bonus seconds he can get are not what is going to make him win the Vuelta, but it will be the first week where he need to test Jumbo-Visma. Every second he can get on Vingegaard matters before Tourmalet and Angrilu.
INEOS – not a good stage for G or Arensman. I think we will see them be in a good position for the finale and then they will hope it comes down to a sprint.
UAE – both Ayuso and Almeida have a good punch on a short climb. I think we will likely get an idea of how well they are going. I think, if a group goes clear, they should look to contribute.
Conclusion: We will see a move, my money is on Evenepoel. Will he ride with the ones who can follow him? I think so, his sprint has improved.
Evenepoel – He will attack and I think he would want the group going to the line. His sprint has become better, the memory of him beating Bilbao comfortably in San Sebastian is something I will not forget easily.
Roglic – He will be able to follow the move. Then, I think the best thing he can do is aim for the stage win. He is very smart in these finales and he rarely mess up.
Vingegaard – time to see him tested. Is he going as well as they say? I think he is. He will not win a sprint up against Evenepoel or many of the others. I think he should look to set up Roglic if possible, without losing time.
Ayuso – He is quick. Very quick on the line. We saw that in Tour de Romandie. I am very curious to see how well he goes on the ramp, I think it will suit him.
Almeida – They are fairly similar the two UAE riders. Almeida did a good uphill sprint in Tour de Pologne recently, the gradients here are more or less the same. I do not think he has the punch to follow the best on the ramp though.
Thomas – a day where he hopes not to lose any time. He usually performs at the highest level in Grand Tours, meaning he will contest for a top-10 on this stage.
Marijn van den Berg – is this too difficult? It all depends on how well the team can position him before the climb. If it comes back together, he will hope he has had enough time to recover on the descend. In a sprint, he will likely be the fastest.
Vlasov – good on ramps and packs a good finish. A top-10.
Gregoire – the young French rider will like the look of this stage. However, the level here is much higher than what he is used too. He will hope he has the level to contest the sprint.
Higuita – isn’t he supposed to work for Vlasov? That is not how Higuita works. The main issue is the positioning before the climb, it is an issue of his. In case of a sprint, he will contest for the stage win.
⭐⭐⭐ Ayuso, Evenepoel
⭐⭐ M. van den Berg, Almeida, Higuita
⭐ Gregoire, Thomas, Vlasov, Vingegaard
Who will win?
A stage win for Primoz Roglic.