A morning preview.
A lumpy start, with two ascends of Puerto de Lizarraga in the finale.
Where will the breakaway form?
The lumpy start I talked about is not very lumpy. There are some short sections of 5-6% inside the first 50 km. The first one with 134 km left and the next one with 124.5 km left. This is the spot where strong climbers can get up the road, otherwise, it is likely filled with rouleurs.
Below is the finale climb of the day. They do this twice. With 45.5 km and 15 km left.
A warm day with little wind.
How does the stage unfold?
For a stage in La Vuelta, this could be a sprint too. It just shouldn’t. Alpecin-Deceuninck need to set their eye on the green jersey and not the stage wins. If they work hard all day, maybe with help from EF and UAE they just risk it being a GC day as there is bonus seconds on the last climb.
Therefore, I think we will see the breakaway win. The gradients are not double digits. That means the strong rouleurs have a good chance of upsetting the climbers.
Evenepoel – I’m uncertain why I didn’t include him for yesterday. We know he can ride well, but now we know he has major off-days as well. When Pogacar almost died in the Tour de France, he lost 6 minutes. Evenepoel lost 27 minutes. Today is another chance. I mean surely, just get up the road and then attack.
Ganna – it could suit a TT-monster. The gradients are low, meaning Ganna will be able to stay with some of the best on it. He will look for the fuga de la fuga and try to take a solo win. If not, few beat him in a reduced group sprint.
Gregoire – suits the French rider who is quick on the line. We are at stage 15, it is around this time where fatigue starts to play a role. Afterall, it is his first Grand Tour.
Kron – he is looking very strong. A stage win and third on stage 11. If you ask me, this stage will be a stage he has marked for a long time. He is strong on medium mountains and he is fast on the line.
Herregodts – it suits him. I may have missed something but I do wonder why his best stage result is 57th.
Lazkano – the Spanish breakaway king has a good chance of winning today. The lower gradients is better for him.
J. Herrada – It is a fine looking stage for him. Maybe he would have hoped the last climb would create a bigger selection. He is very fast in a sprint.
Higuita – not his year at all. With his punch and fast sprint, it could be a day it turns around.
Groves – If it somehow becomes a bunch sprint, Groves will be the favorite.
M. van den Berg – In my book closely followed by the Dutch sprinter.
⭐⭐⭐ Gregoire, J. Herrada
⭐⭐ Herregodts, Ganna, Lazkano
⭐ Groves, M. van den Berg, Higuita, Evenepoel
Who will win?
I sense a day for the breakaway. The ones who can sniff out the fuga de la fuga will look for the win. I think we will see a second stage win for Andreas Kron.