On the first day, we saw FDJ losing two strong riders and UAE not setting up a fast pace. It is important going forward. This should be a sprint.
There are 2700 climbing meters. However, the last real obstacle is with 46 km left.
With 4750m left, there is a short descend. It will really push the tempo up, I hope it stays dry as we have trees on both sides and currently, it is Autumn. I’ve seen wider roads too, meaning you’d want to stay near the front very early. A roundabout with 1600m left will stretch the group out. Road furniture afterwards makes it difficult to make a move.
Another roundabout (only the right side available) will keep things stretched out. The road then rises, just 3%, but it makes it a strong-man sprint.
Wind from the S/SW (5 m/s). It will rain in the afternoon, making the finale tricky.
Strong – took an impressive win. The form from Quebec was no coincidence. The team will have a difficult job setting him up for the sprint. Then again, how often has he actually had any assistance in terms of a lead-out? Not as I can remember. They can keep him near the front, then he must do the sprint himself.
Aranburu – he didn’t have the speed to go past Strong. He will be one of the riders smiling tomorrow, as the rain is to his advantage. He is mighty good on his bike, but he will hope some of the others are out of position, otherwise I don’t see him winning.
Laurance – 12th today, I think he can be happy with that. It was just a bit too hard. This should be a stage that suits him well, and they have speed in Hermans and SKA to position him well. I see him fighting for the podium.
Meeus – the fastest man here and as I’ve written multiple times this season, he climbs well despite his size. The team has brought a very good team to support him. Haller and Politt will likely end up as 3rd and 2nd. That makes them the best sprint train by far.
Pitchie – same goes for Pitchie. The team is down to four riders already. Madouas didn’t have his best day on the bike today, and with two riders leaving with illness – I wouldn’t back a FDJ rider tomorrow.
Cort – will he sprint or not? 99th today was not very impressive. On his best days, he would have contested for the stage win.
⭐⭐ Laurance, Strong
⭐ Cort, Pitchie, Aranburu
Who will win?
He is the fastest man here with good support. I’ll take a win for Meeus.