Orihuela > Torrevieja 192.7km
This is another day for the fast men. We don’t have any proper climbs in the stage, but the bunch will be a little worried about echelons. The majority of the final 60km hugs the coastline, and the wind is coming from the sea, which means a lot of cross/tailwind. We don’t often see splits in this race, but some riders will sense a small opportunity in this stage.
A little bit grey again, but it should stay dry. The wind will come from the east, and will reach around 22km/h, which is strong enough to cause some echelons.
The finish is a lot easier than stage 2. You can see the final 5km only contains 4 corners, and the road is relatively wide. We should see a couple of teams looking to dominate the closing stages, QuickStep and Wanty did it on Thursday, I think we could be in for a repeat performance. QuickStep will have to use up a couple of riders in the early part of the race, they won’t have as many riders as Wanty, but they do have a lot of power.
The teams with shorter sprint trains will look to hang about near the front and surge forward in the final 2km. This is a very hard skill to get right, it requires two riders with a huge amount of power, and some luck too.
Fabio Jakobsen – his win was very impressive, he looked in a different league compared to the other fast men. He doesn’t have a full train to support him, but riders like Honoré and Černy are worth their weight in gold. Once they smash to the front, they hand over to Lampaert and Mørkøv, not many can get past them. Fabio has shown that he doesn’t really need to start the sprint at the very front, he has the power to rescue a poor position, which is a big worry for everyone trying to beat him.
Alexander Kristoff – Wanty nailed the lead out on Thursday, it was a brilliant display of sprint train art! Given it’s the first time they were riding together, it bodes well for the rest of the season. Okay, Kristoff didn’t have the power to finish it off, but he’ll improve with every race. If they nail the lead out again, Kristoff will hope to finish it off this time.
Juan Molano – already has two second places this year, the Colombian has started 2022 in fine form. UAE only have five men left in the race, it’s going to be complicated for Molano to get into a good position, but not impossible. Winning will be hard, but he’ll be hoping for another podium finish.
Elia Viviani – third on Thursday was a decent start to his second spell at Ineos. The team has a lot of climbing power, but not too much sprint power. Fraile and Swift should be the men to help guide him in the closing kilometres, but there’s no way Viviani will be launching his sprint from the front.
Another win for QuickStep, and another win for Fabio Jakobsen. Wanty should be able to boss the lead out, but Fabio is looking too strong compared to the rest.