Close, but not close enough with Matthews, as he seemed to get boxed in with around 250m to go after being in a great position. Instead, it was Greipel who took an incredibly convincing win!
He really is one of the best in the world at those power-type sprints. Anyway, let’s look ahead at tomorrow’s stage and what’s in store for the riders.
The toughest day in the saddle yet for the riders. I wonder how many of the sprinters will see the next few stages through?
Starting off with the Col de l’Espigoulier straight from the gun is a brutal beginning for the riders. It does offer a great platform for a break to get up the road and build up a good lead. Just getting into the break will be tough! In theory we could see some of the GC contenders go wild from the start and try to isolate Alaphilippe but with the 100km of relative flat afterwards, that’s not a great idea.
The race then really heats up in the final 80km with 5 classified climbs. An “easy” Cat-2 and Cat-3 before we enter the final circuit and the Col de Bourigaille is ascended from two different sides. In terms of gradient they’re not the toughest climbs in the World, but the position of the second ascent does make it a good place for an attack. With only 19km left and the majority of it being descent, it will be hard for a group to bring back a leader if they have a small gap and co-operation is not 100%.
Once they hit the valley floor, the road rises up all the way to the finish line.
It’s a very steep end to the day and it requires an explosive finish. Last time we were here it was Carlos Betancur who took the victory! I miss 2014 Carlos 😞.
I wouldn’t expect the GC time difference to be that big here, but we maybe could see 10 seconds separate the top 10 if a few riders let go of the wheel in front of them.
It actually looks like a great finish for our current GC leader and would present him with an opportunity to pick up more bonus seconds. I don’t think the rest of the peloton will want that so…
As per usual, I’ll only name a handful of riders who I think might be able to make the move. With it being such a demanding start to the day, only 1 rider will be making their regular appearance on this list – watch the other two go on and make the break now!
The AG2R man has had a very solid start to the season, finishing 7th on GC in the Tour of Oman. Having lost a lot of time in the first few days, he’s no threat for the overall so should be given some leeway. He won the ridiculously steep finish up to Llucena in the Vuelta last year, so this 9.8% average gradient should be a walk in the park for him!
Yep, for the third preview out of six, I’ll name Finetto again! A great, punchy climber with an explosive finish. Some of the longer climbs out on the route might be an issue for him, but if he comes to the finish in Fayence with a group then he has every chance of taking the win.
The Frenchman actually had one of the fastest climbing times up Mont Brouilly in the TT. Always a rider who seems to be there in the breaks but just doesn’t have enough for the win (he doesn’t have a professional victory), his climbing form certainly seems to suggest that now is a good a time as ever!
I’m going to take another rider off that list for my final selection.
The young Dutchman had an exceptionally good neo-pro season with Giant last year; managing to pick up a stage and the GC at the Tour de l’Ain, not to mention a 3rd place on GC at the Critérium International. He then animated several races in the back-end of the year. This season has got off to a slower start for him, but he seems to be riding into some nice form and tomorrow looks like a great day for him to get up the road.
I can’t not name him, right?! #ForzaFinetto
Not a great day odds wise so this is a bit hesitant.
0.25pt WIN on them all;
Finetto @ 100/1 (Various)
Oomen @ 33/1 (Various)
Edet @ 150/1 (Ladbrokes)
Frank @ 50/1 (Ladbrokes)
Thanks as always for reading and any feedback is greatly appreciated. Do you think tomorrow is a breakaway day, or will we see a GC showdown on the final climb? It should be an exciting stage either way! Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.