Al Mouj > Matrah Corniche 132.3km
The final stage of the race is one that has been used many times. It should be another chance for the sprinters, but there is enough to interest the puncheurs too. Saying that, the morning break has an okay chance of success, as long as teams don’t try and create echelons.
Another sunny day. The wind will be around 15km/h, so it wouldn’t normally split the race, but there is a lot of cross/tailwind. Expect someone to try and create echelons.
The stage ends with a lap circuit, which contains an interesting little kicker. It is 600m at 6.8% and crests with just 3km to go. Despite being short, it is possible for an attacker to get away from the peloton, it’s all to do with position. Only those at the front of the bunch will be able to attack, expect to see the sprint teams trying to occupy those positions to block any hopefuls.
For the first time the break has an okay chance of success. With most teams down riders, there are less men to chase. Cavendish crashed today, QuickStep might look to try and join the morning move, putting the pressure on UAE. If the break doesn’t stay away, there are more opportunities in the final 50km.
DSM have tried something in almost every stage, but they’ve been unable to get a win. We have a climb of 1km at 10% with 35km to go, I think they’ll try and attack at this point. The move is unlikely to be successful, but they might as well go for it as they don’t have a sprinter. If the race is still altogether for the finale, they’ll attack on the final kicker.
Mark Cavendish – crashed today, so we’ll have to see how he recovers. He took a great stage win back on day two, where he came from very far down to take a quite incredible win. It’s clear that he’s the fastest sprinter in the race, he’ll be hoping for another chance to test himself against Gaviria. QuickStep don’t have a full team, but they still have enough quality to control this stage, if they want to.
Fernando Gaviria – won the first stage, but disappointed in the second. UAE have a strong team, possibly the strongest in the race. Their best chance of winning this stage is through their Colombian sprinter, that means they’ll look to shut down any attacks and set up a bunch sprint. If they nail the lead out, Gaviria has a chance of beating Cavendish, even though he isn’t as fast.
Kaden Groves – third and second in the two sprints so far, can he eventually land his big win? Beating Cav and Gav is going to be very difficult, but you just never know at this time of the year.
Amaury Capiot – another who should be sprinting for the win but will be happy with a podium finish. Arkéa are having a storming start to the year, I wonder if Capiot can make it even better.
Søren Kragh – breakaway, or late attack option 1.
Stan Van Tricht – breakaway, or late attack option 2.
Callum Scotson – breakaway, or late attack option 3.
DSM to roll the dice one last time, I’ll take a surprise win for Søren Kragh.