Another drab stage that ended with a very exciting final 10 minutes. For a while it looked as if it was going to be Ewan or Cavendish who took the win, but the perfectly-haired German came from way back, pipping Ewan on the line.
I’m lamenting the bookmakers not over reacting and pricing Kittel at the 2/1 I was hoping for, would have gladly taken that. As it turns out, the H2H double lost as well so not a great day on that front, but we move on!
Onto tomorrow and the day that will decide the GC.
Boring flat, some more boring flat, even more boring flat…MOUNTAIN!
Well, can it be classed as a mountain? It’s certainly a very large hill at the least!
This stage is all about the climb up Jebel Hafeet.
10.8km long and averaging 6.6%, it is a fairly challenging climb; especially when you consider that the middle 7km average 8%. This is the section where proper time gaps can be made!
We will see attacks here as those climbers without a good sprint will want to drop everyone on the toughest parts, i.e Quintana! Although, we could easily be in for a lot of stopping and stalling as favourites mark each other, leaving the opportunity for a “lesser” rider to get away.
You probably know by now the very stellar climbing line-up we have here and without repeating all of that again, here’s a link to my GC preview to remind you.
*I’d advise you to read that as I won’t be adding much more here*
So has anything changed since I wrote that preview on Tuesday?
Well, Contador seems to be up for playing more than a team role here! I can imagine he’ll be used as the guy to try to follow Quintana or go on the attack himself, allowing Mollema to follow behind and counter.
I still think Bardet will go well and is a serious challenge if there is some looking about. My feelings towards Aru finishing top 5 have got stronger and I think he’s a proper podium contender too. He seemed lively on the first sprint stage and seems in good spirits.
Aside from that, nothing else has change really.
Quintana is still the rider to beat though but I don’t think Contador will be that far off of him. Therefore, I can see the two of them messing around, allowing for another couple of riders to get back (Bardet and Aru), and I’ll go for the Frenchman to win!
1pt EW Bardet @14/1
0.75pt EW Aru @ 20/1
Both with Bet365.
Apologies for the briskness of this but I don’t want to needlessly spend some time writing out the same stuff again and I wouldn’t want you to read that either!
If you haven’t seen it already, then check out my Omloop preview that is on the blog. Thanks again for reading, tomorrow will be another double preview day with the final stage of this race and Kuurne. I know which one I’m looking more forward to! 😉 Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.