The break did make it all the way today with Dillier taking a fantastic uphill sprint win ahead of Stuyven, with the latter looking like he was closing but just run out of steam in the end.
Former Maglia Rosa wearer Pöstlberger came home third after being distanced right before the finish.
I was surprised to see such a small break and with so few teams represented when I tuned into the coverage. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see how it formed properly, we only got glimpses at the end of the day. It looked like a larger group had some kind of gap but wasn’t co-operating, so they were brought back. The highlights at the end then jumped to the 5 we had so I’m not really sure what can be deduced from that!
Either way, Cannondale couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag so to speak on flat terrain. A few more rouleurs were needed on that team today as I’m sure Woods will be lamenting the fact they could barely make a dent in the gap. However, it is harsh to put all the blame on them because with that finish, a few of the GC guys could have been up there and nabbed some bonus seconds. Maybe Orica could have helped out the chase to get Yates up there for example?
It seems to be a recurring theme this Giro so far where we have a “too many chefs” type situation with all the GC leaders. Several team-mates are being asked to protect them and not enough are being given any leeway to go for stage wins. Yet, the GC guys themselves don’t seem bothered about stage wins, being more concerned with saving energy for later in the race. Unfortunately, a situation like this might keep occurring this week until after the finish in Blockhaus when there should be some more gaps between the big contenders. Unless of course we get a headwind on that climb as well!
Anyway, let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders on tomorrow’s very uninspiring stage.
Another 200+km stage for the riders and the second longest of the race at 224km in total. Looking at the parcours though, it is definitely a classical “transition stage”.
Starting on a descent, the riders then have over 100km of flat roads to contend with before we get our only “major” climb of the day; a 15.4km long drag at 2.6% (if you take it as a whole).
After that, there’s not too much to write home about until the end which gets a bit iffy.
The road is “rolling” for the last few kilometres and it will be interesting to see how the teams approach it.
We have roughly 800m at 4% followed by false flat and another short kick up. Once over that second little kick up the riders will have to tackle quite a sharp right-hand turn before descending down towards the 2km to go banner.
It is important to note that when they get to 2km left, the road narrows and rises at 2.8% for 500m.
As you can see, the road narrows from 2 lanes into what I would call 1 and a bit! Positioning will be important here as the race will get even more strung out than it already is.
Once we reach around 1.7km to go there is an unmarked (well on the stage profiles anyway) chicane/kink in the road.
The riders at the front of the bunch should be able to take it without slowing down, but those behind might get caught out if they try to come up the inside.
From there we have a sweeping right hand turn at roughly 1.5km left before the peloton descends ever so slightly through the Flamme Rouge and towards the last right-hand turn through a roundabout with about 600m to go.
The final 500m rises ever so gradually at roughly 1-2% so the riders will need to time their effort a little more meticulously as they won’t want to open up their sprint early and run out of steam.
Will we get a sprint though…
How will the stage pan out?
It really should be a day for the sprinters.
With no real obstacles to speak of out on course the sprint teams in theory should be able to control the break on the flat roads, bringing it back before it all kicks off in the last 10km.
However, a few of the sprinters might look at this finish and not fancy their chances. It’s technical, dangerous and pretty tough! The road is up and down, with some narrow roads and tight bends.
Quick Step and more importantly, Gaviria, seem to be better than anyone else at the moment and this finish suits the Colombian perfectly. Will other teams be willing to work to help the chase if it gives Gaviria another chance at the win.
A fully fit Modolo or Nizzolo would love this type of finish as well but they’ve been off the boil so far this race. Although the former did hold on reasonably well today.
I’m not sold on Ewan and Greipel for this run-in either, with both of them disappointing on a simpler finish on Stage 5.
Therefore, it will be very interesting to see what teams want to get in the break at the start of the day. If one or two of the sprinters teams send a rider up the road, then I think it will be hard for Quick Step to chase back with very little help. They’ll just turn their attention to protecting the leader’s jersey.
So contrary to what it originally looks like, I think the break might have a reasonable chance at survival but that is only if it there are 8 or so riders up the road and after the past few days, that is a big IF.
Furthermore, the twisting and turning nature of the finale could also lend its hand to a late attacker. Someone like Luis Leon Sanchez might attack off the front on the 800m rise and not be seen again on the narrow roads.
This is even more like a shot in the dark than normal because almost any rider could make the move and the peloton might (probably will) think differently to how I currently am!
I’m sure Willier won’t be missing the move tomorrow so I expect one of their riders to be up there. Maybe Busato will give it a go or Zhupa will get up the road to continue his challenge in the Fuga Pinarello prize?
Luis Leon Sanchez himself could try to get in the break, or maybe youngster Albanese will be up there for Bardiani?
Should be a sprint and if so, then Gaviria will win. He has the best lead-out and is the fastest rider on this type of finish. Simple!
But it’s the Giro and things don’t always go to plan so there is a chance we could see a late attack go or the break might even stick.
Absolutely no value in the sprinters, few break picks/late attackers for fun. Early prices aren’t great and I imagine you’ll be able to pick up several 1000/1 riders later on today on the exchanges, which I shall be doing, but for the sake of the blog;
0.25pts WIN on the following (all with Bet365)
LL Sanchez @ 300/1
Zhupa @ 300/1
Albanese @ 500/1
de Buyst @ 500/1
Thanks as always for reading and any feedback is greatly appreciated. Who do you think will win tomorrow? Does the break have any chance? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes worth.