Well, what a resounding win for the fantastically-haired German! It was never in doubt once he pulled out of Demare’s slipstream and powered away to a comfortable win. As for some of the other top-tier sprinters, the likes of Greipel (15th), Viviani (13th) and Nizzolo (10th) all went missing. It was a poor stage in terms of a spectacle. The peloton was on a club-run until the final 20km or so, let’s hope for something a bit more lively tomorrow!
As for the blog’s pick of Hofland he came home in a credible 4th place. A good effort, but not good enough to return us any profit. I was impressed by his power, considering he started so far back. Only those in front of him when the sprint started (Kittel, Demare and Modolo) beat him. I think he came from about 9th or 10th wheel but it was too little too late.
That’s now two days in a row that I’ve picked relative outsiders and they’ve both finished in 4th place. So if you find out who’ll finish in 4th tomorrow, then keep on reading!
Flat. Pretty much. Again.
Instead of going West like today, the riders head East from Nijmegen before turning back and returning to Arnhem. We have another bump that’s classified as a KOM point, so expect jersey holder Fraile to be in the break again, but like today, it’s nothing to trouble the bunch.
The race again adopts a finishing circuit, with the riders doing two laps of it. Much like today, the circuit itself isn’t very technical, apart from a 360-degree loop, but that comes with just over 5km to go. This will shake things up for the sprint trains, but after that there are long straights and a few 90-degree turns which shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
There is one roundabout with 600m to go, so being in the first 5 or so riders here will be crucial. It’s not a sharp turn, but the swooping nature of it will really stretch out the peloton. This could result in the finale being even more chaotic than today!
Disappointingly today we didn’t get any real cross winds, however, tomorrow is the stage where it’s more likely to happen. This is because the race goes through more exposed farmland with few trees etc to shelter the riders. Annoyingly, the race travels through the most exposed areas relatively early on in the stage.
However, there is a chance that we might see some crosswind action when the race travels between the town of Zutphen (75km to go) and the KOM point at 50km to go. This could potentially continue in the run into Arnhem where the road (and wind) continue in the same direction. This will be less likely as the more sheltered area will provide more protection for the riders. However, the wind will still be quite strong, averaging the same 30km/h speed. This is about a third faster than it was today! I’m not holding out any hope for cross winds though because it will take a lot of effort from one or two teams to split things up. Yet again, I have seen stranger things happen before…
*Insert yesterday’s paragraph here*.
All joking aside, it’s very hard to see past Kittel again for tomorrow’s stage. Etixx timed everything perfectly with the lead-out and I expect more of the same tomorrow. He should be in the first 5 or so through that roundabout and he’ll romp to victory again.
Who’ll be best of the rest?
You have to expect it will be the same contingent of riders who will be competing for the podium spots tomorrow. The finish tomorrow (as I’ve said above) is a bit complex so I fear Greipel will not be there again. I do expect Viviani and Nizzolo to be there. For this to happen Viviani has to be brought right to the front and be dropped on Kittel’s wheel with around 2km to go, no easy task! The Trek lead-out train was poor today so they need to sort themselves out.
FDJ were the big surprise lead-out for me, I didn’t expect them to be that good. They’ll need a repeat performance tomorrow if Demare wants any chance.
The IAM train was a big let down, no-where to be seen and they ended up with Pelucchi finishing way down in 23rd. Roger Kluge says that they all lost each other with around 3km to go and couldn’t move up together. Pelucchi himself had to do a few short sharp efforts to get near the front but that tired him out. Not good. I expect them to rectify this tomorrow.
Ewan seemed to be brought up to a good position, but got bullied off of Kittel’s wheel by Ruffoni and went backwards from there. His sprint was average.
Modolo didn’t get a great lead-out, but what can be expected when he only has Ferrari to put him into position! He did do well to surf the wheels and get up for third place.
As I said yesterday, Lotto Jumbo don’t have a proper sprint train lead out as such, but they did an OK job today of delivering Hofland. They took it up too early today and Hofland was left on his own about 1km too soon. If they want success tomorrow they’ll have to do what everyone wants to do and drop him off on Kittel’s wheel!
As much as I’d love to see some cross-wind action, I just can’t see it happening. The main areas affected come too far out from the finish line and I can’t see a team putting in the effort required to split the peloton, so we’ll probably see a full bunch gallop.
Once again, Kittel is the man to beat and everyone else will be racing for minor positions.
From a punter’s perspective as clear a favourite as Kittel is, if the odds of 1/1 did not entice me yesterday (maybe they will in the future), then what’s being offered just now (1/2) definitely doesn’t!
The big question is whether to stick or twist with Hofland. He did a very strong sprint today, but tomorrow’s slightly more technical finale requires a strong lead-out. That of which he doesn’t have. So I think I’ll twist.
I’m going to go for someone who has the speed to match Kittel and on paper has one of the strongest lead-out trains here: Matteo Pelucchi. I fancy that the IAM boys will have got a rollocking today and they won’t want to mess things up two days in a row. They have strength in numbers and the engines to command the final 2km and get to that roundabout first, coming out of it with two riders in-front of Pelucchi. From there, all Matteo has to do is put his head down and hope that he can beat Kittel!
A few people have asked if I state a suggestion of how much money to back each rider with, so from now on I’ll leave a points based recommendation at the end of each post.
Pelucchi is available at 33/1 with PaddyPower and Betway. I’d recommend 0.5pts EW on him at that price. I would say he’s value down to the 25/1 that’s available with Bet365, but I would try to get something higher than that. Be on the look-out, you might manage to get a higher price than that when other bookmakers put out their prices.
I’m also going to start a blog £25-£1000 H2H challenge for the Giro. This will involve putting on one H2H bet for each stage. I’ll try and get as close to Evens as possible for each bet, as long as I’m confident with the selection. If all of the bets are at odds of roughly 8/11 then it should take 8-9 bets to come in (if some of the money is taken off after each bet).
So Challenge Bet 1 is Matteo Pelucchi over Jakub Mareczko at 8/11 available with Bet365.
Thanks again for everyone who’s managed to get this far. I might do a rest-day-recap but I’m unsure. If not I’ll be back with a stage 4 preview on Monday evening. Hope you all enjoy tomorrow’s racing! Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.