Cascata delle Marmore > Bellante 201.5km
It’s the fourth stage and time for the sprinters to move to the side. We have 2970m of climbing, a lumpy opening to the stage and three laps of a circuit that finishes with a tricky climb.
Another sunny day. There isn’t a lot of wind, but it will mainly be a tailwind on the final climb.
This climb is done three times in the final 45km. 4.2km at 5.9% doesn’t sound that hard, but as we’ve seen in recent races, it’s all about how hard it’s ridden.
UAE have gone bonkers; I have no idea what they’ll try and do in this stage. Normally, it would be well controlled, and we’ll see a “sprint” finish, but do UAE have any interest in being normal? With 17km between the climbs, I get the impression they’ll look to attack with one of their domestiques, probably Marc Soler. He’ll be joined by others, with the GC team who misses out having to then chase.
As we do the climb three times, I think it will be on the limit for the puncheurs, especially when the pace is on last time up. I would imagine that we’ll see the fast-finishing climbers battle it out for the stage win, but maybe a certain TT rider will have a different idea.
Filippo Ganna is currently climbing better than ever before, why can’t he be in the mix with the very best? I’m trying to say that the lap circuit will be crazy, teams are not just going to sit back and wait for Pogačar to take the win. I can’t wait!
Tadej Pogačar – no words are required.
Remco Evenepoel – is it all about him or Alaphilippe? This finish would normally be perfect for the world champion, but I don’t think his current shape is good enough. Instead, I see the team looking to ride for Remco. His sprint isn’t fast enough to beat Pogačar, so I hope to see him attack before the final kilometre. I think we’re all excited to eventually see the two of them go head-to-head.
Marc Soler – will he attack? Is the Pope a Catholic?
Filippo Ganna – he’s going to attack; we all know it. The timing of his move will be very important, as will who manages to go with him. He won’t win the “sprint”, he must attack before we hit the final 2km.
Michael Matthews – 4km at 6%, that should be manageable for him, if he’s in good form. Matthews is an amazing climber, but he’s struggled to win races in the last couple of years. He’ll expect to hang with the front group, even if the pace is high, I hope to see him fighting for the win.
Benoît Cosnefroy – puncheur extraordinaire! 3rd place in the Drôme Classic was a good indication of current form, this is a good-looking stage for win. The Frenchman is very fast in a sprint, remember he beat Alaphilippe in Plouay last year. He’s a big danger for Pogačar and UAE.
Tim Wellens – another rider who’ll love a 4km at 6% finish. Illness interrupted his flow, but he should be totally fine by now. After taking the win today confidence will be high, Lotto Soudal will hope Wellens can deliver in a typical Wellens stage.
I’d love to see Ganna win, but it seems inevitable that Tadej Pogačar will continue his brilliant run of form.