Les Gets straight into it.
(Sorry. I had to get that joke out of the road at some point, may as well be the start!)
Mountain TT, so uphill pretty much.
We get a flat first few hundred metres leading into a 6.1% section to start off with and after that it’s steep, very steep! The final section supposedly only averages 6.7% but this is due to a false flat finish. After the second kilometre the climb really averages 10.5%+, not very nice!
If you want a more interactive route map, here’s a Strava profile.
There’s nothing else to say really. It should be a joy to watch for us, but I’m sure a lot of the riders won’t be thinking the same.
As I’m writing this it is currently raining in Les Gets and there is a chance that this weather will continue tomorrow.
Different websites are suggesting different times when the rain and thunderstorms will arrive.
It’s safe to assume we’ll probably get rain at some point tomorrow, with some suggesting more rain earlier, others suggesting the opposite. Who knows?!
There is a chance that start time might come in to play but I don’t think it will have that much of an effect. Everyone will have roughly similar conditions. If anything, it looks like the later starters will get a benefit.
To win this stage you obviously have to climb well. However, it’s not a long Alpine climb, it’s much more like the short steep climbs that we see in Spain. This changes the dynamic of the winner ever so slightly. For example, I don’t think we’ll see Pinot win this. He’s much better on the longer, slightly more gentle climbs.
Contador and Froome head the betting and they’re two riders who could manage this type of effort. The former has done well on the short steep climbs of Spain and Froome has proved that he can manage the steep ramps when the Tour finished atop the Huy.
Away from the top 2 we have a whole host of riders who could give it a good go tomorrow. Porte is good at short sharp climbs and can sprint up them. Except this isn’t January and this isn’t Old Willunga Hill.
Yates being a Brit will enjoy this hill climb a lot and it should suit his punchy nature. The real question is if he’s in form. He didn’t look great last time we saw him race at the Tour de Yorkshire.
After Foliforov’s outstanding win at the Giro, one of his junior rivals could go well here, Louis Vervaeke. A top 5 would be a great result for the young man!
Anyone else listed on the image beside could have a chance of winning this. However, I’m going to highlight two who I think have the credentials to go very well here and challenge for the win.
First up is the youngster Julian Alaphilippe. Off the back of a great GC win over at the Tour of California he’ll be oozing with confidence and will want to show that he can compete with the World’s best.
He loves the steep gradients as is evident with his two 2nd places at Fleche. Furthermore, he flew up the Gibraltar Road climb over at the ToC. Admittedly, it wasn’t the strongest field but he looked so relaxed at the end. Suggesting he could have gone a lot deeper. He definitely could surprise the big guys here.
The other rider is his team-mate Dan Martin. Another man who is at home on the steep ramps. He’s not raced since LBL but that doesn’t concern me too much, he was excellent at the start of the season winning the first hill-top finish at Valenciana. Furthermore, he smoked the opposition up La Molina in Catalunya which is a similar climb to this. He probably won’t win the GC but he has a good chance to go into yellow here.
As you can see in the video above, the two Etixx riders off the front look sprightly. I’d suggest that they’re Martin and Alaphilippe.
I think it’ll be hard to top the two main GC guys, with Contador probably being the most likely winner. However, as you may know by now if you’ve read a few of my previews, going for the favourite all the time isn’t my thing. So I say we get a Contador, Martin and Alaphilippe podium. It’s just over to the order and I think it’ll be the Irishman on the top step. This 10-15 minute effort looks like the ideal length for him and combined with its gradients, he definitely could surprise. Remember, this isn’t a normal TT!
I’m backing the two Etixx riders I’ve mentioned.
0.5pts EW on each.
Alaphilippe @ 18/1 with various sites
Martin @ 66/1 with Betfair or B365
Hope you all enjoyed the preview, any feedback would be great as usual.
We should be in for a great spectacle tomorrow, everything will be left out on that climb!
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.