For the 1st time in it’s 3 years,the race contains a mountaintop finish.
The 1st cat 1 climb is down as 7.7km at 5.9% but the road actually rises for 20km at 3.6%.Then a short downhill before the cat 2 climb,3.5km at 7.1%.
For the first time in this race,I would imagine a thinning of the field to take place here.
The finish is 12.6km at 5.7%,not brutal but hard.The winner of the stage will go on and take the overall title.
It’s quite difficult to predict what will happen here as we don’t often end a race on such a climb.It isn’t too steep but it’s long.
Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain ended with a 5.8km climb at 6%.That day a group of 9 riders finished together with David Lopez finishing 3rd.
This is not the type of climb you’d associate with Dan Martin,as it doesn’t have the super,steep gradient he likes.I would imagine that a group of riders will arrive together,so riders with a good sprint will have an advantage.
A few riders fell out the GC picture today and it leaves the following riders will a realistic chance of winning:
Rui Costa,Intxausti,Bardet,Nerz,Rogers,Tony Martin,Bakelants,Dan Martin,Lopez,Gesink,Brajkovic,Betancur,Kelderman,Landa,Flecha,Frank,Busche,Basso,Jungels,Visconti and Meyer.
That’s an amazing 21 riders,all with a good chance of winning.
Can Tony Martin cope with the length of the climb?
Who will lead AG2R? Bardet or Betancur?
How will Movistar play all their cards?
Can a smaller rider surprise near the end?
My initial GC pick,Cameron Meyer,is still in with a shout.Considering he was 150/1,I’m quite pleased.
Can Ivan Basso win his 1st race in over 2 years?
Quite a few teams have multiple riders in contention,which makes it even harder to predict.
How about a romantic win for Flecha!
I can honestly say that I don’t have a clue how this race will unfold but Dan Martin at 2/1 is not a good bet.
Rui Costa was very active today.He picked up some time at a sprint point and was keen to follow Tony Martin.He has the strongest team here and I think he should be the favourite for tomorrow,although he’ll have to beat the curse!