Pais Vasco 2018 Stage 4 Preview; Lodosa -> Lodosa

Today’s Recap

Astana had to go and ruin the break (and our) fun, didn’t they? The 8 riders up ahead had a 6 minute gap with 70km remaining and it was finely in the balance until the Kazakh squad came to the front and hammered it down. This encouraged other teams to join in the chase but it wasn’t an easy run in as Sky got their Duo Normand practice in with Kwiatkowski and De La Cruz attacking from the peloton, bridging to De Gendt and Juul Jensen who were still left from the morning break. However, it was all in vain by the end of the stage as they and a flurry of other attacks were brought to heel and we got a reduced bunch sprint.

Jay McCarthy took a dominant win, showing his continued development in these types of finishes.

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Neo-pro and baby Il Lombardia winner Alexandr Riabushenko was a solid second, while Kwiatkowski managed to recover from his earlier efforts to take third.

After all their work, Astana had a nice 9th place to show for it. I’m guessing their DS must have been pissed they missed the break but it is something you would expect to see from Androni in the Giro, not a World Tour team. Or maybe I’m just salty! 😉

Oh well, on to tomorrow and a possibly decisive GC stage. Let’s have a look at what is in store for the riders.

The Route

A pan flat, power TT course. At 19km in length it is possible we could see some fairly large time gaps between some of the GC favourites.

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There are a few technical turns where getting back up to speed will be important but the riders will face several long straights in which they can grind a big gear and go flat-out on.

Well, that’s that covered!

Weather Watch

As is often the case in an ITT, the weather can have an impact on the outcome of the day as it could deteriorate or get better throughout the afternoon. Thankfully there is no rain forecast at all for the region, however, there is meant to be a reasonable bit of wind.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 17.48.12
Source: Windfinder

The above image is the forecast for the town of Sartaguda which is located just south of Lodosa and is where the course turns and heads back to our start town. As you can see, it is predicted that the wind speed will pick up throughout the afternoon which in theory will hamper the later starters ever so slightly. It might not be by much, but it could be enough to see them not win. Especially if the direction turns around so that it is more of a headwind on the way South.

Contenders

Primoz Roglic.

Flying at the moment, this is his big chance to win a World Tour level stage race. Barring any accidents or mechanicals he should put time into almost, if not all of his GC contenders tomorrow. The flat TT course should be OK for the Slovenian who was a solid 9th place in the Tirreno TT but I would imagine he would have liked a hill or two. Nonetheless, with more on the line here, expect to see him take some risks around the turns and be up there for the stage win.

Ion Izagirre.

He’s been somewhat disappointing in this race so far with his brother taking more of the limelight. Ion of 2016 would be licking his lips at the prospect of this event tomorrow but I just can’t see it happening this year.

Gorka Izagirre.

The pan-flat course isn’t ideal for the current third placed rider on GC. However, he has produced some good time trial efforts in the past and he seems on fairly stellar form at the moment. With a little bit of extra motivation due to being from the area and maybe some handy moto assistance too, he’ll want to maintain his podium spot at the end of the day.

Vasil Kiryienka.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 18.58.19

Sky have been pretty dominant in TTs so far this year and I would expect to see several of their squad go well tomorrow. With the distance of nearly 20km, we are getting closer to Kiryienka range but I’m sure he would have appreciated another lap! He’s been a bit poor in TTs ever since his World Championship win but he can never be discounted.

Jonathan Castroviejo.

Sky rider number 2, unlike Kiryienka, has been very consistent over the past few years and seems to have taken a step up again this season with his new team. He has one of my favourite TT positions in the peloton and for quite a small guy, he can go very well in pan-flat efforts against the clock. He’s also from the Basque region which always helps too!

David De La Cruz.

Sky rider number 3. The Spaniard had a good hit out today and looked pretty strong. He already has a TT win to his name this season after taking home stage 5 of Andalucia. Will today’s efforts have taken some of his punch for tomorrow?

Julian Alaphilippe.

Despite the fine form he is in, tomorrow’s stage is just too flat for him. Moving on!

Steve Cummings.

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It just would be typical for Cummings to pull a result out of the bag tomorrow, wouldn’t it? When he puts his mind to it he can produce a very good time for this sort of distance. It all just depends whether he can be arsed or not!

Patrick Bevin. 

My dark horse for tomorrow, the Kiwi rider has upped his game as a TT rider now that he is with BMC; shows what some good equipment can do for you. Two solid results in Abu Dhabi and Tirreno, with a slightly weaker TT field here he might go even better. Theoretically he should be one of the best early starter (he rolls down the ramp in 17th) so that hot seat could be his for a while.

Prediction

The stars align perfectly for this one;

Most consistent TT team / fairly early start / local rider / best aero position.

Castroviejo wins this, easy.*

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 19.22.57

*Maybe not that easy, depends on how Roglic goes!

Betting

As expected it is close in the market between Roglic and Castroviejo but I’m happy to opose the Slovenian. Bit of a chunkier stake than normal but it has been a fairly good year so far so why not!

4pts WIN Castroviejo @ 5/2 (Would take 15/8 lowest – if it goes lower than that just back him vs Roglic in a H2H)

Wanted an EW punt on Bevin as an outside podium shot but he’s not priced yet. Will update on my Twitter if he is and I think there is some value or not!

Thanks as always for reading. Who do you think will win tomorrow? Could we see a shock result? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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