The last stage before the riders get a well-earned rest day. It is time for a mountain top finish.
We have 50 km of flat before the first categorized climb. From there, the lumpy terrain brings them to the last climb of the day, the ALto Caravaca de la Cruz.
Puerto Casas de Marina la Perdiz. It flattens near the top, the first 8.2 km are 6%.
The last climb of the day, and where the stage ends is on this one. Yes, it is very irregular, meaning it will be very difficult settling into a rhythm. That is good for the punchy climbers and not the diesels. It also means 5.5% doesn’t tell the whole story. The penultimate section is 1200m at 11.7% before the short flat and descend. Then, the last 1200m are 9.7%.
Here you have the finale.
A tailwind throughout the day with a few sections of crosswind. The weather in spain tomorrow will be poor, as rain and thunder can play a part throughout the stage. It will rain in the last 100 km, but as of now, they will miss the thunder.
How will the stage unfold?
It is not often I missread a GC day or a breakaway day. Therefore, I was surprised to see JV try and set up this stage for Vingegaard, Kuss and Roglic. Evenepoel did the right thing, set up a pace to discourage attacks.
Tomorrow is a day where the breakaway forms either on the flat or on the first climb. Surely, the do not attempt to keep it. It is not their style. If not, Kuss likely lose it on the TT to Marc Soler. I do not think this is a stage where you can do much until the finale climb. Therefore, the breakaway has a very good chance, especially since the have a tailwind most of the stage.
The finale climb is tough and irregular. It suits Evenepoel and Roglic the most, Ayuso and Vingegaard will look to hang on.
Poels – the best of the rest today, surely he will hope to get up the road tomorrow. He is not a major threat as his time trial is quite poor. He will once again like the look of this climb, as he goes well on double-digits.
Buitrago – he has crashed a few times, yet his results are good. I think he is good enough to challenge for a win here. The form is good.
Bardet – he has crashed a few times too. He was in the breakaway today and I assume he will try again tomorrow.
Kämna – it was not a good showing from him the other day, he is more of a diesel. I think he should look for the fuga de la fuga, and hope to build up a gap before the main climb. He is a fantastic breakaway rider.
Storer – did a good job protecting his leader today. It was clear he is going well, meaning we likely see him go for the breakaway tomorrow.
Vlasov – join the breakaway… I hope he will but it is not for certain.
Evenepoel – looked much better today than on stage 6. These short climbs suits him.
Roglic – he is looking good. I thought we would see him attack, yet he trusted his sprint. He is the best of the GC men just now.
Vingegaard – not a perfect stage for him. He likely will not win, but it is going the right direction.
Ayuso – I think he prefers longer climbs too but he is hanging on.
⭐⭐⭐ Poels, Kämna
⭐⭐ Vlasov, Bardet, Buitrago
⭐ Evenepoel, Roglic, Vingegaard, Ayuso
Who will win?
A stage win for Störer.