Despite the best intentions of Astana to try to make the stage more difficult in the early part of the day, the race settled in to the normal routine on a sprint stage with a small breakaway up the road. As expected, things were brought back in the closing 20kms and it looked as if we were heading for a full bunch sprint; that was until Gaviria fell with roughly 8km left, taking out a good percentage of the peloton.
Ahead QuickStep switched to Plan B and looked to set up Richeze for the sprint, leading him out perfectly in the closing kilometre. However, it was glaringly obvious that the Argentinian didn’t have the legs/speed to match the best with Kittel and Sagan both coming over the top of him. The German made it two wins from two sprints at this race, beating Sagan by a wheel. Richeze did well enough to hold on for third at least!
Maybe Kittel was right to come to this race all along then?!
No one at the top of the order lost time on GC today but the crash did see Bardet and Pozzovivo drop down two places. With the TT tomorrow it will be almost impossible for them to regain any of that time. Let’s have a look at what is in store.
This will be quick…
A pan-flat almost out and back TT that suits the power riders in the peloton. It is the exact same course that we had last year so a lot of the guys here should know it well. I’m sure they’ll be able to take their data and experiences from 2017 and hopefully perform better because of it.
Well, that’s the route covered. I told you it would be quick!
The obvious favourite; he is incredible at short TT efforts but this type of distance is short enough that he can possibly be beat. Something along the line of 15kms is perfect for him. He’ll probably still win though, but his performances on the road stages so far have been disappointing and they’re a shadow of how well he done here GC wise last season. Is he ill? We’ll find out tomorrow I guess.
Jos Van Emden.
So close to the win last year, he finished only 3 seconds behind Dennis. He’s another who is exceptional over these short distance TTs. No doubt he will have been targeting this stage since the start of the race so will have been saving any energy he could. I would not be surprised if he won but Jumbo’s TTT performance was disappointing and that is putting me off of him.
Smashed the TT in the Algarve, the shorter distance here shouldn’t be a bad thing for the former track star. He’s had a stinker of a race due to bad luck when he look set to win the thing overall. Sky has a cracking TT bike and set up; they’ve been very strong in the discipline at every race so far this year. I expect that to continue tomorrow, but will it be enough for a stage victory? Castroviejo, Froome, Kwiatkowski, Kiryienka and Moscon could all feasibly post good times too! It’s just picking who will do the best.
Another who has had a pretty poor luck at this race which derailed his GC ambitions early on but at least he still managed to get a stage win. There is a chance that he could double up tomorrow as his form does seem to be good and the Slovenian is capable of putting out a lot of power for a short period of time. He’s one to watch with interest.
The King has started his season well with strong showings in the Algarve but also a good top 20 in Strade. He’s really developing into a great rider who can TT but manage results on other terrain. I expect 2018 to be another big year in his development and we should see some great results. If Dennis is struggling, then Kung will be more than ready to step up and take the mantle for BMC.
I can’t not mention the former World Champion but he’s very hit or miss in TTs these days. He still seems a bit undercooked to me in terms of his form so unfortunately I think it will be a miss again tomorrow.
I’m throwing him in as a wildcard pick for tomorrow. Mitchelton were great in the TTT with Impey, Hepburn and Durbridge all finishing with Yates. While the Brit is not a bad TT rider, the other trio will have been putting out some serious wattage on the course. All of them could go well tomorrow but after his terrific start I think Impey will honour his national champions jersey with a good performance. Like others on this list, he can churn out a lot of power for a short period of time so he has a good chance of causing a shock. Does he still have that Tour Down Under form?
A BMC rider will win the stage but it won’t be Dennis, instead it will be King Küng who is victorious!
I’m a big fan of the young Swiss rider and I think he has the ability to pull off a great result tomorrow; he’s started this season off well and it will only get better.
2pst EW Kung @ 14/1 (Would take 8/1)
0.25pt EW Impey @ 250/1 (Would take 100 lowest)
0.25pt EW Durbridge @ 250/1 (Would take 100)
Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow? Will we see any big GC shake-ups? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.