We got a sprint in the end and it was Gaviria who took the win, edging out Sagan.
A prelude for next weekend?
Cavendish was no where to be seen. He annoyingly only seems to do well when I’ve not picked him! Oh well, on to tomorrow’s final stage. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders.
A fairly simple, pan-flat, 10km individual time trial.
Nothing challenging parcours wise for the riders, unless of course you’re a lightweight climber!
The course isn’t technical either, just a simple out and back pretty much, with only a few 90-degree turns thrown in.
It’s certainly one for the specialists and strong men of the peloton.
It should be a fairly sunny day with little chance of rain.
As you can see in the image above, it looks as if it is going to be a reasonably windy day on the Adriatic coast, with the wind speed picking up mostly around midday.
This will unfortunately hamper the early starters, because on an out-and-back course, the increased tailwind speed does not negate the increased head-wind speed. It’s the opposite in fact!
So if we do get the forecasted wind tomorrow, that should favour the late starters.
We have two world-class time trial riders here at Tirreno.
Tom Dumoulin has started his season in imperious form and a good performance tomorrow could see him finish in the top 3 on GC of another stage race. A great TTer, I’m sure he would have preferred the course to be slightly longer and have a little climb in it somewhere. Nonetheless, as he proved at the Giro last year, he’s still no slouch over a short, flat route!
His biggest rival will be Rohan Dennis. I’ve been very impressed with the Aussie so far this race and he’s already sitting in a podium position, but I’m sure he’ll be aiming further up than the third he currently occupies. One of the best short TT riders in the World and to be honest, I would strongly argue that he is the best! He was flying as part of BMC’s TTT effort and I expect much of the same from him tomorrow.
Aside from those two, there are a plethora of riders who could duke it out for stage honours or a podium placing on the day at least.
Primoz Roglic almost beat Dumoulin in that Giro TT, missing out by less than a second, in what was a breakthrough performance for him. He seemed to struggle a bit in the TT at the Volta ao Algarve recently, so a transformation in to more of a GC rider may have hindered him in that respect. Nonetheless, he could still pull something out the bag!
Geraint Thomas could put in a shift here. The Sky rider has been in sensational form this Tirreno so far and I’m sure he’ll be ruing the awful TTT, otherwise he could well be close enough to Quintana to take the title. A bit inconsistent in the discipline recently, the shorter distance will suit the former track rider.
Jonathan Castroviejo won the TT in Algarve recently over a similar parcours, apart from that stage being ever so slightly longer. The Spaniard is a very good on flat TTs considering his slight nature and he is certainly a danger here if he’s still going well!
Ryan Mullen was going exceptionally well in Algarve and if it hadn’t been for an untimely mechanical, he may have been challenging for the win. He’s been rolling around here for the past few stages, poor form or one eye on tomorrow?
Matthias Brandle has been doing a fair bit of work on the front of the bunch for his team-mates this week, but like Mullen, he’s then rolled home on every stage. He was bitterly disappointed with his performance in Andalucia, but the course didn’t really suit him then. This flatter parcours does and he certainly has the abilities to sneak into the top 3.
Can everyone’s favourite Swede, Tobias Ludvigsson step up and deliver a good result? Like others, he’s been doing a lot of good work for his team leaders and looked solid in the TTT. In Strade he looked particularly annoyed (smashed his handlebars) after a mechanical and long wait for the car forced him to abandon, so I think he must be in reasonable form. Finishing 9th in Andalucia with a dropped chain isn’t a bad result, but he’ll need to avoid crashing/bad luck for once if he’s to go well here!
There are several other riders in with a top 5 shout depending on their performance on the day; Durbridge; Kiryienka, Dowsett, Van Emden and Kung to name a few!
The best short TTer in the World wins this!
Dennis is absolutely flying right now, his high GC placing is testament to that, and there is no one here who can match his speed over 10km. I always back him in time trials of this length and probably will continue to do so for a long time. Well, apart from when I picked him in the preview for Stage 2 of Eneco last year but didn’t put any money down.
I’m not letting that happen again. The beacons are lit, and Rohan will answer!
Another big day and the price is tight, was hoping for 7/4 at least, but yeah…
Dennis 7pts WIN @5/4 with Bet365 (would take evens)
Mullen 0.5pts EW @150/1 with Bet365 (paying 3 places at 1/4 odds, would take 80s)
Plus the 4-fold @5.69/1. 2pts on.
Thanks for reading as always! Can anyone stop Dennis or Dumoulin? And will we have a shake up at the top of the GC standings? There won’t be any previews on here for a few days but I’ll be back with MSR, the Women’s Trofeo Binda and Catalunya before the Belgian racing starts up again. Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.