With the TT done, the riders have two easier stages before we move into the higher mountains.
A flat day with La Laguna Negra at the finish.
We are moving west most of the day, before turning north for the climb.
Where does the breakaway form?
Well, it is another one of those days where it can happen everywhere. There are some few lumps in the first 50 km but nothing major. That means it may require a bit of luck getting in the right move. It also means you must be good on the flat if you want to join the morning move, if you can’t get a slingshot.
It is also a very exposed area, meaning the wind could potentially come out and play.
La Laguna Negra
We saw this used in 2020, seeing a GC sprint. It is steepest towards the top, with 700m at 10%. It will take 15 minutes for the best.
A lovely day with some cross-headwind, temperatures in the high 20’s and no rain. With the cross-headwind early on, that means it is easier to follow as a climber, if you know how to ride a bit of crosswind.
How will the stage unfold?
Too easy to be a GC day, too hard to be a day for the sprinters. Breakaway.
Kämna – already has a stage win but has been in three breaks too. Once again, the flat start is what makes him such a good candidate for tomorrow, it gives him an edge as he is one of the best breakaway riders who can both consistently join the breakaway on the flat and climb well enough for the win. Tomorrow, he can take another win if the group is right.
Storer – I’m just waiting for him to get up the road. Surely, he must be allowed to do so tomorrow. He should not have any issues getting in the morning break, he goes well on the flat.
Grégoire – Otherwise, FDJ should look to send Grégoire up the road, he just won a stage in Tour du Limosin a few weeks ago with a similar climb as a finish. Plus, he has a very good punch for the finale 700m
Poels – he is going well despite also racing the Tour de France. In fact, he was the best behind the GC riders on stage 8. It is not the best climb for him, but it is his best option for few days.
Bardet – he has been quite unlucky but he is still here to win. He has a good punch on him but I still think he would have preferred a tougher stage overall.
Jesus Herrada – Senor Medium Mountains, time to step up. The form was good prior to the race started, but he has been invisible in the breakaways the first week. Usually, he performs well in Spain and the lower gradients are good for him.
DLX – looking good and should look to get up the road and move up in the GC. I don’t think Jumbo are concerned with him, despite him sitting 4:20 behind Kuss.
Costa – best of the breakaway riders on stage 8 before the breakaway was caught. The gradients on the last climb suits him very much.
Evenepoel – he has one of the best kicks up these gradients from the GC group.
Roglic – see above.
⭐⭐⭐ Kämna, Storer
⭐⭐ Bardet, Costa, Herrada
⭐ Evenepoel, Roglic, Poels, DLX
Who will win?
I will take a win for FDJ, they have the two best options. Let’s see if the talented Grégoire will take a big win tomorrow, I think he can.