It is time for Alto de L’Angliru. This time, correctly spelled. The first of two difficult stages.
Another stage moving east.
Detailed analysis of the route.
A very flat start. That means diesels have the advantage over the pure climbers.
The cat 1 climb before Angrilu. Alto del Cordal. It was part of the 2020 edition of this stage too. It will add some extra fatigue but riders are cautious here, the Angluri is waiting.
Here it is. As mentioned in the GC preview, we often see shorter time gaps than you would think. A long climb in terms of time, it will likely take 45 minutes.
And the steepest part. Here, the legs do the talking. The rider who can endure the most pain on this day will likely take the stage win.
A cold day. Mostly a tailwind but the wind speed is low throughout the stage.
How will the stage unfold?
If Mas and Ayuso want a spot on the podium, they better get their teams to work. To me, that means three teams are quite interested in controlling this stage, Movistar, UAE and Jumbo-Visma. It is an iconic climbing, meaning it would be a big stage win for the team of Jumbo-Visma.
The flat start is where the breakaway will form. A certain Evenepoel hopes to get up the road and I assume many others would like to join him. It all depends on the attitude of the three teams mentioned. They will all likely look to save their bullets until the finale.
I tip the hat towards the GC riders. It is a day where they must attack and don’t look back. It all depends on when the breakaway riders stop to mess up their own chances, and accept you didn’t manage to get in the right move.
Vingegaard – It should be clear now that he is the best climber here. Tomorrow is something different, it is double digits for six km. He is a “the harder the better” sort of climber, so I don’t see why this shouldn’t either. It is mostly down to correct gearing. I think it is far to say, that he starts as the favorite tomorrow.
Roglic – In the first half of racing, he was starting to look like the favorite. Strong on the climbs and a very good TT. Now, it seems the attacks from Jonas are just too much, even for him. He is left with the rest of the favorites, which is odd. Why are they so focused on Roglic? In 2020, we saw him get into trouble on this climb. Will he do so tomorrow too?
Kuss – was that the first sign of weakness? I think it is game over tomorrow. I’ve not been the most accurate this Vuelta, so the chance that he proves me wrong is there.
Mas – looking better and better. I think he will be one of the better GC riders tomorrow. He usually grows stronger and stronger as the days go by.
Ayuso – talking about attacking the last few days. I’m still waiting. He is good on double digits. There is still a long way to the podium in Madrid, the journey has to start tomorrow.
Vlasov – he impressed me today. Usually, he falls short on longer climbs. However, he seems to excel on double digits. That is why he was 2nd here in 2020.
Evenepoel – a man of his word. Sitting in the bunch the whole day. Let’s see if JV allow him up the road tomorrow – they should, he is 29 minutes down. Same goes for UAE and Movistar, who has to attack the stage. Evenepoel is very good and low-cadence climbs, by far the best breakaway pick.
Poels – good on double-digits and carrying fine legs.
Storer – I’m still convinced he will win a stage here from the breakaway.
Bardet – looking alright too. He can get in the breakaway on the flat.
⭐⭐⭐ Evenepoel, Ayuso
⭐⭐ Roglic, Mas, Poels
⭐ Bardet, Vlasov, Kuss, Storer
Who will win?
Stage and jersey for Jonas Vingegaard. It seems he timed his form just right afterall.