Another sprint stage, another remarkably easy win for Kittel. Who makes it 2 from 2 on the road stages at this years Giro and keeps up his personal 100% record on non-TT stages as well. The win also means that he goes into the Maglia Rosa, and he’ll hope to defend it over the next few stages.
As for our pick Pelucchi, he finished in a lowly and disappointing 13th.
I expected much more from him, especially with the way IAM were being attentive at the front all day. The whole team made the front group when the peloton split briefly due to the crosswinds and crashes. They were also the team offering Etixx the most assistance, but seemed to just disappear in the final 5km. Very disappointing.
To compound the misery even more, I thought that the Willier-Southeast rider who out-sprinted Pelucchi was Mareczko and that would nip the #25to1000 challenge in the bud, before it even started! Thankfully, it turned out to be Belletti who was sprinting for WS, with Mareczko finishing 153rd.
Not so flat anymore!
A flat first half of the stage, leads into a very rolling and bumpy second half. The first two Cat 3 climbs of the race feature in tomorrow’s stage so I’d expect the blue jersey of Tjallingi to feature in the break along with some of his early challengers. However, both of these climbs come too early to cause real difficulty for the sprinters, unless of course they’re on a really bad day!
The real interesting bit of this stage is that rolling, uncategorised, segment with around 20km to go. The main climb highlighted in the road book and the one that seems to be most talked about is the final one, that summits with around 8.5km to go.
However, the preceding “lumps” are no molehills, that’s for sure. They will make the legs of the sprinters heavy, especially if they are covered at a fast pace!
Going off of a profile (click here to open the link) made by @LasterketaBurua I make them out to be; 3.5km averaging a 4.1% gradient; 900m at 6.1%; and 700m at 9.1%. There’s a 4km of downhill/flat before we get to the final climb.
This type of finish reminds me very much of the closing circuits at the Ardennes classic. Short-sharp climbs, mixed in with more rolling ones!
The final climb (as can be seen above) has some very steep gradients in it, maxing out at 18% at times. This will really put the hurt on the peloton after a long day in the saddle (the stage is 200km long!).
It really is a teasing profile, the climbs will tempt out the puncheurs but they don’t “appear” too difficult so they give the sprinters hope of making it to the finish. The main factor going for some kind of bunch sprint tomorrow is the 2.5km of straight flat along the promenade. Anyone who has escaped on the climb will be left dangling out front like the proverbial carrot. It will just be a case if there are sprinters and teammates left at the end of the stage to chase them down. Everything is set up to make a cracking stage!
Will the sprinters make it?
The key question for tomorrow is who out of the sprinters will make it over that final climb?
Not many, in my opinion.
Kittel has been climbing excellently, see his results up the Hatta Dam and at the Tour de Romandie for proof of that. But I’m not convinced he’ll be able to make it over and contend tomorrow. If he does get over the climbs then will he have the power to compete at the end?
Of the “pure” sprinters, those with the best chances are Nizzolo, Modolo, Demare and Hofland, in my opinion. With Modolo probably being my favourite, he was climbing exceptionally well in Turkey!
If not the sprinters, then who’s going to challenge?
As said above, this stage finale reminds me of the Ardennes classics and I’ll think we’ll get a similar winner here. Someone along the lines of Sonny Colbrelli, Diego Ulissi or Alejandro Valverde would be among the favourites if it came to a reduced bunch sprint of around 40 riders or so.
Of the “lesser” names, Matteo Busato looks to be a good candidate. He has a quick sprint on him after a tough day and as was proven at Trentino, finishing 2nd on the final stage, losing out to Tanel Kangert (who’s also racing here).
This parcours begs riders to go on a late attack over the final climb. The likes of Tim Wellens will no doubt duly oblige tomorrow and try to squirrel away. Kangert himself could go on a late attack. Look to those further down on GC who could be given more leeway…
The conundrum in that case is, will they get caught before the finish line?
For a prediction here, I’m going to have to name two riders because of the various situations that could occur.
If we get a sprint of some sort, then I believe that Modolo can make it over and have enough left in the tank to deliver a big result.
The real difficulty comes when trying to predict who a successful late attacker would be. If Steve Cummings was here he’d be the ideal choice. He’d manage to make it over the climb at the back of the peloton and as everyone looked at each other on the flat, straight 2km finish, he’d jump out the pack.
My rider to do something similar is Team Sky rider, Nicolas Roche. He attempted something similar in Catalunya and was caught with around 1km to go and I think he’ll be given free rein tomorrow to try again. At the Tour de Yorkshire he also proved he’s in excellent form so he’s my lottery pick.
Roche is available at varying prices, between 200-300/1 depending where you can place your bet. I’m going to place mine (and the blog’s) at Boylesports because they’re paying 5 places tomorrow.
Modolo is also varied in price, between 25-33/1.
- 0.5pt EW Modolo
- 0.5pt EW Roche
For the #25to1000 challenge I haven’t come to a conclusion yet who to back. But check back here later or on my Twitter and I’ll post an update.
*UPDATE* – Challenge bet is Modolo over Nizzolo at 6/4. Stake £35, bank the £8.19 from the first bet. These bets will also be done at Betfair from now on. This is because Bet365 don’t like me as much and I’m limited there. Whereas, Betfair are much more generous! I am doing the challenge too. I’m not someone to suggest a not place it myself!
Thanks again to everyone who’s liked and shared the post and managed to get this far. Sorry if this feels rushed, but I am in a hurry to get this done so I can go and enjoy our one day of Scottish summer-time. Hope you all enjoy what will (fingers-crossed) be an exciting stage tomorrow. Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.