A strong break got away but they were never given more than two and a half minutes and on the final climb we saw some GC attacks. They weren’t really fireworks though as Roglic managed to follow Bernal with relative ease, more a few sparklers instead. A regrouping on the descent saw Costa, Porte and Fuglsang join the duo but when the pace stalled the latter attacked and he was not seen again by the rest of the bunch.
Fuglsang held on for the win, a just reward for a good Spring campaign by him.
Behind Roglic produced an impressive sprint to finish second and all but secure his GC win, with Bernal rounding out the podium. Let’s have a look at what is in store for the riders tomorrow.
Rather cruelly, the organisers have saved the easiest stage of the week until the end. There have plenty of mountains for the riders to get over to reach this point. We are in Switzerland though, so it is hard to avoid any hills at all so there are still plenty of small ascents for the peloton to tackle, but it is just the 2000m of climbing on offer.
None of the climbs are long, or overly steep, so they are perfect for a barodeur. The stage gets easier as it progresses with the final 40km all mainly flat, with some of it even going downhill.
The finale is incredibly easy too, with only a left-hand turn on an open road with around 1.2km to go that might worry the peloton.
You can view the final 5km here:
Will it be a bunch contesting the finish though?
How will the day pan out?
On paper this is a sprint stage through and through but given we had a lack of sprinters at this race in the first place, compiled with the fact Viviani, Gaviria and Matthews have all pulled out then there is chance we don’t get a big bunch gallop to the line.
Colbrelli, Ackermann, Albasini, Dumoulin and Ferrari are the main guys who are left. Not exactly a who’s who of sprinting talent…
Bahrain were foiled on stages 1 and 2 so a lot of pressure will be on them to chase as Colbrelli does look the fastest here out of those who remain. Can I see anyone else help them? Not really, but the prospect of a good placing for their sprinter on a WT stage could tempt some.
However, the much safer plan is to try to get a rider into the breakaway so that you can save energy for later on in the stage. If enough of the teams who represent the sprinters above get a guy up the road, it isn’t coming back. Unless of course we have some sneaky rider who is 5 minutes down and close enough to trouble the GC, although with that said, Jumbo only have 4 guys left at the race. Things could get very interesting if let’s say Castroviejo escapes in a group of 10.
Time to play that game again though…
Finding the G-Spot…
He was on the attack during the first open road stage and was oh so close to the win, being caught within the final few kilometres. This is his type of terrain where the climbs aren’t too steep or long and he can just plough his way through them. A tenacious rider, he will be a danger in the finale and he has shown in the past he has the strength to hold off a strong group.
When he’s hot, he’s really hot! The Portuguese rider is one of the hardest riders to predict from-wise but he has impressed me so far this race with a strong 12th place on the mountain TT. However, he suffered today and finished over 20 minutes down. A ploy so that he can go on the attack tomorrow? Possibly. The majority of his wins have come from reduced sprints on rolling terrain, can he add another to his tally tomorrow?
Astana to make it two in two and three in total at this race? Grivko was on the attack on stage 2 when De Gendt took the honours but he was dropped on the toughest climb of the day which was on and over his limit! However, the parcours tomorrow looks more suited to his capabilities and as a strong barodeur he will like the challenge. The other riders will need to watch out for those Froome-like pointy elbows though…
If Bahrain decide that they don’t want to chase all day for Colbrelli then sending a man up the road is the perfect plan for them. We saw during the Ardennes week that the Italian is in a purple-patch of form at the moment. However, he was used on stage 2 to effectively pull back the break himself and that was never going to happen. Much more used to going on the attack, he will back his chances in a sprint from the break.
The break to stay away and Alexis Gougeard to take a dominant stage win after attacking in the finale and coming home solo. He looked impressive on the opening road stage and if he puts in a similar performance tomorrow it will be tough for anyone to match him.
It appears as if the bookmakers have a similar idea so the guys are quite short price wise, nonetheless I’ll still be backing them for an interest.
0.5pt WIN on them all:
Gougeard @ 33/1
Grivko @ 66/1
Gasparotto @ 33/1
Goncalves @ 40/1
Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow and how? I’ll be having a few days off from blog writing before things kick into full swing for the Giro so expect daily previews throughout the race for that. Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.