What is now the biggest test ahead of Il Lombardia.
The typical route, with five ascends of San Luca inside Bologna.
It is all about the circuit. The laps make it very difficult for any change to be organized.
This is the climb itself. The best do it at 5:30 or close too. It is the repeated efforts that makes this race difficult.
How will the race unfold?
Mostly, it comes down to the laps. We had a split one year before it, I doubt it happens in these conditions. I think we can all agree UAE are the strongest team here. How will they approach the race? I would ride for A. Yates and Pogacar, I do not think the others can win to be honest. It means they will likely be one of the teams setting up a fierce pace and try to play their numbers.
I could go on but the reality here is often this; the best rider on the day wins. If you are the best on San Luca, you will be rewarded with a good result.
Pogacar – he has been in service of the team since the Tour de France which is great to see. Now, they will return the favor. Despite him starting as the favorite, it doesn’t mean he will win. He was beaten last year, fair and square, by Enric Mas. Yet, I would say his competitors need to have a very good day on the bike to challenge him.
A. Yates – his own teammate is one of the other favorites. He has become a far better rider at UAE than he was before. It is a race that suits him, yet I feel the most likely outcome is him sacrificing his own chances for Pogacar.
Roglic – man of the hour. He has two wins here on record already, it really suits him. I still don’t know what to take from La Vuelta. I think he finished on a high, meaning he will be carrying Grand Tour legs. However, it is the second Grand Tour finished this season, meaning the tank could be empty too.
Mas – just does not seem to have the same level as last season. It will difficult to repeat.
Vlasov – I keep mentioning him and seeing him be worse than in 2022. It is still, on paper, a race that suits him. Maybe the Grand Tour legs can help him out.
Sivakov – I think he will be going very well tomorrow. He is enjoying some fine form at the moment, he is going very well in the one day races. I think he is a fair shout for a potential podium.
C. Rodriguez – the Spanish youngster has the potential to be a very good one day racer too. Maybe he lacks a bit of punch, but a diesel can go well here too.
Woods – his sort of terrain. It is difficult to say where his form is at the moment. If he is in form, few beat him on a good day.
Bardet – usually puts up a good showing here. A top-10.
S. Yates – you never quite know with him this late in the season. Role a dice, odd for a good day and even for a bad one.
Who will win?
I will go for Grand Tour legs. A win for Primoz Roglic.