Dull sprint stage they said, well they weren’t wrong but it was the Sky which was particularly dull in the closing 30kms. We saw torrential rain fall on the riders and with a little bit of a wind and on a sketchy descent, the peloton split in two before we even hit the final circuit.
Things were brought mostly back together but there was one big omission as pre-stage favourite Viviani was in the group behind.
Wellens attacked as things regrouped and held on until the final 10km but he was caught on the climb. Some attacks flew but nothing major stuck until Betancur and Mohoric slithered away out the front of the peloton on the descent. Thanks to the Slovenian’s skills, they managed to hold off the charging bunch going under the Flamme Rouge but as it flattened out the Movistar rider refused to take a pull. So taking a leaf out of Sagan’s book, Mohoric just sat up and let the bunch catch them. After the stage he was quoted saying “unlucky for Carlos I’ve already won a stage”. Love it. Although he maybe was a bit over amorous in his attempts to drop Betancur on the descent.
Bennett didn’t know that those two were going to sit up though and he launched an audacious sprint from 350m to go after them, catching all the other sprinters sleeping behind. He opened up a gap quickly and it was enough to see him hold on for a second stage win!
Van Poppel was best of the rest with Bonifazio rounding out the podium. More of the same tomorrow?
Yes, parcours wise anyway.
Except it is easier than it was today, with the only categorised climb of the day cresting at just under 20kms to go.
An easy ascent, it would be a shock to see any sprinters dropped here but you never know. We don’t have Mareczko or Guardini at this race anymore so it is doubtful!
The finish itself is straight forward too with there being no major turns or obstacles in the closing 4km, just a few roundabouts and sweeping bends to negotiate.
Expect to see a big battle between the sprint trains. If it is anything like the “simple” run in on stage 7 then it will be very messy.
Imperious today, his winning move was one that brimmed with confidence and I wonder would he have pulled it off if he hadn’t won stage 7 already? He’s clearly in stupendous form at the moment and there is a big chance of him going back-to-back tomorrow. There will be more pressure on his team’s shoulders to chase down the break which might leave him a little short in the sprint, so he’ll need to be shrewd with what wheel he chooses to follow. He’s not unbeatable but given his performance today, he will be tough to beat!
He looks a shadow of the rider that dominated in Israel. These past few stages he has been dropped on climbs that he shouldn’t have been and today he was one of the guys caught behind when the peloton split. He should have been there are is regrouped but for some reason he missed out again, ultimately rolling home 9 minutes down in 145th place. What is odd is that he went for the intermediate sprint points behind the breakaway and “won” both of them during the stage. Is he ill and trying to score as many points at the intermediate sprints knowing he won’t compete at the finish, hoping his illness will pass? Something doesn’t seem right with him either way. Tomorrow is the acid test.
Danny Van Poppel.
The Jumbo rider looked strong in today’s sprint but the group just left it too late. He’s been slowly riding his way into this race and on his day I think he can match Viviani and Bennett for speed. His lead-out is a bit inexperienced but they have a group of strong guys who can string things out in the finale. Will they get the timing right tomorrow?
His team did a lot of work for him today but he ran out of steam in the end and finished in 13th place. Not ideal. On the previous sprint days he has shown some potential though and with a good placing on the tough stage 11 finish I think he’s just had a bad day today. He’ll be back to prove something tomorrow.
The most reckless sprinter I have seen in a long time, he just squeezes through gaps that really aren’t there. I somewhat admire him for it, but sometimes he pushes the limits to the extreme. His bike was swinging all over the road today but he still got up for third. Maybe if he went straight he could have a better chance! He was one of the fastest finishers today and I’m intrigued to see what he can do when put into a good position.
The rest will probably be fighting for minor honours again but if Viviani is ill, then we might see a surprise rider make it onto the podium.
The man on form makes it three wins, Bennett goes back to back!
Chasing some EW value here.
I’ve seen enough from Modolo on the other sprint stages to hope that he can get on the podium tomorrow. Especially if Viviani is unwell.
Modolo 1pt EW at 12/1 with Bet365
Thanks as always for reading! Who do you think will win tomorrow? Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.