We’re in the last week of racing. It starts with a good opportunity for the breakaway.
A short stage, just 119.8 km. A lumpy start, that reminds me a bit of what we saw on stage 15. I bet it will take some time to get in the breakaway.
Another irregular climb, typical here in Spain. Starting with 1600m at 10.9%, 1800m at 5.9% before the last ramp, 1500m at 9.7%.
A colder day to what we saw in the second week. The wind will not play a role.
How will the stage unfold?
This is a stage where the breakaway can take a long time to form. That means the gap they will get might be small. That opens it up for a team such as Quick-Step (if Evenepoel misses the breakaway) or UAE may take control.
On the other hand, we have the mighty Angrilu tomorrow. That likely means most teams will be happy with the breakaway getting up the road. It took a long time on stage 15 to form, as I happened halfway through the stage. Tomorrow, it must form on the flat.
Evenepoel – starts as the favorite if Jumbo-Visma allow him up the road. They don’t seem too keen on giving him room to do so. He sits 16:22 down, surely they have other things to worry about than him taking a few minutes tomorrow. He has now had a full day to recover after two big efforts from him. I think he will be ready.
Poels – climbing with the best. The difficult thing for him will be getting in the breakaway on the flat. I think he will struggle with it.
Gregoire – we will see how he recovers this late in a Grand Tour. On paper, he should like the steep gradients near the end.
Storer – he should drop all plays of the KOM jersey for now, as long as JV seem to allow Evenepoel some room. But, he is clearly in good enough shape to challenge for a stage win. It will come.
Costa – Thomas O’Malley. He is very smart but double digits is not his favorite. Plus, he does not have a good record getting in the breakaway with a flat start.
Herrada – Similar climb, a bit more irregular, than what we saw on stage 11 that he won. He should be targeting tomorrow. He is good at getting in the breakaways on the flat.
Bardet – Same goes for Bardet, who looked to have a tough day with Evenepoel the other day. He will hope to get in the breakaway on the flat, and try his luck to take a stage win. He has been close twice.
Kämna – He was close to taking his second win before he crashed. He will be one of the safe cards for the breakaway, as he is so strong on the flat. Watch out for the plateau attack.
Roglic – favorite if we see a GC day.
Ayuso – should be the closest to Roglic.
⭐⭐⭐ Kämna, Storer
⭐⭐ J. Herrada, Poels, Bardet
⭐ Ayuso, Roglic, Costa, Gregoire
Who will win?
Difficult to see past Evenepoel. Quick-Step need to send riders with him.