Due to the adverse weather conditions, times for the GC were recorded 5 km from the finish. No bonification seconds were attributed. That means the GC looks a bit odd. Or just different than one might think. Tomorrow is the climbing day
2500 climbing meters. The finale starts with 37 km left.
They are riding in all sorts of directions tomorrow, something I will see if matters in the weather section
Here you have the last 37 km. Let’s try to break it down.
For you mortals, including myself spending 30 minutes trying to create this masterpiece of a preview, this is the finale from the 2022 stage 2. With a slight change in the finale. The short climb was not part of the 2022 edition. Cofidis tried to launch Coquard on that day to distance the pure sprinters. They succeeded but it is a long way from home, meaning you have to do the work until the line. Otherwise, the pure sprinters can get back on.
Second climb where you can do some damage. Back in 2022, the group was quite big back in 2022, so I’m not sold on them dropping Mads Pedersen. 26 km left from the top.
The following section is downhill and rolling. Again, it will be tough to make the difference here as people are keeping the pace high to make sure no one gets back on.
That takes us to the finale. It just keeps going up and up around 4-5%.
A nice tailwind start but with extremely heavy rain. They turn into a headwind, before another tailwind section. The last 65 km will have a head-crosswind. Lower wind speeds, still raining. So a bloody cold day on the bike, as it will rain from start to finish. Finale is below. The wind does not play a big role on the climb, but a crosswind to the finish (which actually has a tailwind)
M. Pedersen – Trek was very confident today and they know they must take control again tomorrow. All about pacing the climb, it should be right on the limit. The good thing for him is the fact it comes far out. On a rainy day, the Dane gets 10% extra – it is a law of nature at this point. Bernard will play a big roll tomorrow, Kirsch and Gibbons must step-up too – they should get over the main climb tomorrow in the front group.
Zingle – impressive today, I didn’t think he was too fit after the crash. We will see if they are the team to set a pace that can drop the Dane. With Champoussin, Costiou and Owsian, they have a few climbers to give it a go. Otherwise, Zingle will enjoy a rainy day. He took a big win in Arctic Tour of Norway in an uphill sprint on a rainy and cold day back in 2022. It suits him.
Watson – form is there. With the start list present, he should once again be hoping for the podium. He is quite good in a sprint. I think and hope the team will try something again tomorrow as they have Bystrøm, Walls and Rochas to light it up.
Pickrell – youngster coming through. Looking at his results, he is a decent climber for a sprinter but there is a chance he is dropped tomorrow, then they should look to Hofstetter.
Geutherat – too hard for Sam tomorrow, a few teams will make sure of that. Godon can play a role too, we will have to see who they go for. Both are good enough to challenge for the podium.
Dujardin – should be possible for him to snatch another top-10 tomorrow.
Who will win?
Mads Pedersen. Rainy and with a 4% finish, I wonder if he designed the stage himself.