Nice > Col de Turini 155.2km
The big mountain stage! There was a concern that the weather wouldn’t be good enough to climb to the top of the Turini, but that doesn’t look to be the case. It’s a huge day for Jumbo-Visma and Roglič.
Grey and fairly cold, especially at the top of the mountain where temperatures will be below zero. We’ll have a headwind for most of the Turini.
A proper mountain, 14.8km at 7.1%. Last time we were here, Martínez won from the breakaway. Back in the GC group Bernal and Quintana crossed the line together, and the rest followed in ones and twos. The gaps at the end of this stage will be huge.
Who’s going to try and crack Jumbo-Visma. As I mentioned the other day, they aren’t here with their usual mountain train, as we witnessed on Thursday it is possible to isolate Roglič. The good news for them is this stage is easy, until we get to the final climb. That means they don’t have to waste much energy until we hit the Turini. The team will be hoping that Van Aert, Kruijswijk and Dennis can last a considerable distance up the climb, otherwise Roglič will be in trouble.
Looking at the other teams nobody has a serious mountain train, thanks to teams splitting their best climbers between PN and Tirreno. Ineos are the most likely to try something, but just how far up the climb will Fraile, Hayter, Amador and Van Baarle last? They do have two options for the stage, both of whom should still be at the head of the race in the closing kilometres. This is where they have an advantage over all the other teams, they have a great chance of winning the stage.
Roglič’s attitude will be interesting, the GC picture will have a big impact on how he rides. He leads Simon Yates by 39 seconds, Latour is at 41 seconds, Martínez follows at 56 seconds, Vlasov is 59 seconds down and Adam Yates is 1:11 down. Roglič won’t be following everyone, he’ll be closing watching Simon Yates. The Ineos duo could well be afforded some freedom due to the GC picture, the same goes for Quintana who is a massive 1:45 down. Depending on when his teammates disappear, attack could well be the best form of defence for Roglič, there’s no point simply waiting for the others to throw their punches. He’s clearly got great form; he might attack and see who can follow him.
DS Cycling Mole
Sorry for the late start to the season boys, I’ve been laid low with COVID for the 6th time, that’s what I get for hanging out with Nando Gaviria. Anyway, Jumbo Bees, listen up…
Right boys, this is the big day, forget about Sunday. It’s going to be a cold one out there, don’t forget to layer up. We’ll let the break go, we have no need to chase it down. If anyone else wants to take up the chase, we can just slip down into the bunch and take it easy. If not, we’ve got the The Donk and Teuny to ride on the front all day. Once onto the Turini, we don’t need to set a crazy pace, it’s not our responsibility, let Ineos waste their men.
We need everyone to hang on as long as possible. Wout, you got a rest on Thursday, we need you for this one. Time to channel your Ventoux inner demon. Square shoulder Steve, I’m expecting you to last a long time, same goes for Dennis the Menace.
Prima Donna, sit back and chill. We’ll let everyone else make their moves, you only need to focus on Simon Yates. Inside the final 5km, throw in one of your trademark attacks, that’ll blow them to pieces. We’ll see who can follow you, I doubt many will. Now get out there and make sure you’re still in yellow at the end.
Nairo Quintana – the GC position means he’s the prime candidate for the stage win. He’s started the season in amazing form, and he’s done well on this climb before. He’s in a similar position to when he won on Valdeblore La Colmiane back in 2020. While everyone else will be looking at each other in terms of the GC fight, Nairo can benefit from not being chased by Roglič.
Simon Yates – he’s too close to Roglič to get a free pass, so he’ll have to do it the hard way. Yates is in good form; his TT was very impressive. This is a mountain he should like, but how will he approach it? He needs to attack and see if he can drop Roglič, but that makes him vulnerable to counter attacks. If his brother gets up the road, will he chase him? His best chance of taking the stage will be to form a small front group, get Roglič to lead out the sprint and then come past him. Sounds easy!
Adam Yates – another who’s currently in good form, but how much freedom will he get? He’s 1:11 behind Roglič, that could buy him a little rope. He’s certainly got the form; he was very close to popping Pogačar in the UAE Tour.
Aleksandr Vlasov – don’t think he’s quite at the level of those already mentioned.
Primož Roglič – it all depends on the race situation. His focus is the yellow jersey, but if he gets a sniff of the stage, he’ll go for it. We’ve seen before that when he’s at his best, very few can follow.
Brandon McNulty – breakaway hopeful number 1.
Wout Poels – breakaway hopeful number 2.
David Gaudu – breakaway hopeful number 3.
Michael Storer – breakaway hopeful number 4.
Who’s going to chase the break? Ineos would be the best option, they have two GC hopes and still a full team, but I’m not sure they will. I’ll take a breakaway win for David Gaudu and Roglič to stay in yellow.