If you have enjoyed the first two stages, the next three will likely be even better. At least more selective.
Back with the Veloviewer. It is all about the circuit in Vianden.
The riders ascend the climb four times. Almost. The second fourth time, they head up the climb as they approach the castle.
This is the Montée de Niklosbierg. The first 600 m (roughly 7.5%) are on cobbles. Steepest at the bottom.
This is the last time up the climb. After using roughly an hour trying to do it perfectly, I simply can’t. You see they turn right near the top, this is where it deviates from the other laps.
This is a picture from Google Maps approximately 350m from the line. You can see they are likely putting new cobbles on.
This is 250 m from the line. They are going through the narrow gate. This is uphill, not flat/downhill as Veloviewer says.
And they are finishing some place around here.
Once more, winds from the S/SW. Now, that means you actually have a window in what I will refer to as “Vianden-circuit”. That means a tailwind for most of the climb and a crosswind for the rest of it (which is mostly covered). Once over the top, on the false-flat, there is an opening. As the wind is blowing 6 m/s, there is a section where you can try and push it over the top. Just as in the classics. The section is with these kilometers left; 48 – 46 , 30.5 – 28.5 and 13 – 11 km left. As it is followed buy a descent, you can actually make up time here. It will also rain, just like today.
3300 climbing meters, cobbles and wet terrain. It suits a cobbled specialist, who can handle his bit of climb. Also, do remember, it finishes on a cobbled climb uphill.
SKA – in the race lead? It is a big surprise to me. He hasn’t had the best of seasons, now it seems he has hit the right note near the end. Søren loves at tough and rainy day in the saddle. Is his punch strong enough to contest for a win tomorrow? I doubt it.
Healy – speaking of having a good punch, Ben Healy comes to mind. He goes very well on short, steep climbs. Cobblestones are not an issue either, 2nd in De Brabantse Pijl proves that. He has finished in the back of the front group on two occasions, so I wonder if they are riding for him at all.
Madouas – I really doubt his current form has disappeared into thin air. I do wonder, does shit weather not suit him? Remember the French Nationals – it was awfully hot that day. We will have to see.
Benoot – looking good. Some lead-out today, it isn’t what he is known for. He is known for a certain climb in Belgium, Côte de Trieu. It isn’t that different from the finale tomorrow. It just has cobbles tomorrow but I don’t see that as a con for him.
Hirschi – very surprised he has not been in the mix yet. He will be tomorrow.
Teuns – best option for ISPT? As a puncheur who can manage cobblestones, this finale suits him.
Campenaerts – watch out for the early attack tomorrow. He would rather have a select group get away than take his chances in the sprint. He has become a fine classics rider the past seasons.
Aranburu – 3rd and 7th. Form is looking very well here in September. He isn’t known for his abilities on cobbles but you don’t need to dig deep to find some strong results on them.
Jorgensen – time to see where the legs are at. 4th in E3 and 9th in Flanders. You don’t do that by being bad on cobblestones. Add his win in Oman, which is on short and steep climbs.
Bagioli – in my book, he is the best QS option tomorrow. With some good results in De Brabantse Pijl in the past, he should manage the finale tomorrow.
Who will win?
I’ve decided to boycut the star-system for the season. I don’t know if they are ever coming back. Tomorrow, I will take a stage win for Tiesj Benoot.