Nice > Nice 115.5km
A wet and windy day to finish off the race. After today’s mountain stage, Roglič has an even firmer grip of the yellow jersey, but we’ve seen before that it isn’t over until they cross the line in Nice. This stage is explosive, and if it rains, it will be even harder than before. It really is a beautiful stage, and with friends and family at the finishing line, lots of riders will have that little bit of extra motivation.
Wet and windy. The wind will strengthen throughout the day, eventually hitting 25km/h. Most of the route is well protected by trees, but the final two climbs are basically into a block headwind. There is some debate about when the rain arrives, wet roads will make some of the descents very sketchy!
This descent follows the second climb of the day, Côte de Châteauneuf, it’s tricky one. Roglič lost the yellow jersey last year due to a crash, some teams will look to test him.
Côte de Peille is the first cat 1 climb of the day. It’s very steep at the bottom but does get easier towards the top. We’ll see attacks here, even though there’s still 45km to go from the crest.
The final climb is Col d’Èze coming from Quatre Chemins, which is the climb shown in the image. After 3.7km at 8.7%, there’s still another 2.1km at 7%. Then there is a horrible false flat section before the road descends to the finishing line.
With just 96 riders left in the bunch, this could be a strange day. The type of day we get really depends on what Ineos want to happen, they are just one of three teams still with a full complement of riders. The problem for them is that Martínez is one minute behind yellow, with Adam Yates a further 50 seconds down, but they’ll still give it a good go.
First up is to try and isolate Roglič, that must be done if they stand any chance of winning. The problem is the form of Rohan Dennis, he’s riding like a monster just now, he’ll outclimb all the Ineos domestiques. Will Ineos try something different and look to get Van Baarle in the morning break? It really is a tough decision.
The last time I remember a rainy stage in Nice it was the year Marc Soler won the GC. He started the stage in 6th place on GC, 37 seconds behind Simon Yates. What I’m trying to say is that Roglič isn’t safe, this is a very hard stage to get right. The good news for him is the gap he’s managed to establish over most riders. This means Jumbo-Visma don’t need to chase all the moves, even someone like Adam Yates. If he attacks from a long way out, the team can ride at a steady tempo behind, it’s highly unlikely he’d be able to take almost 2 minutes of Roglič.
Apart from Ineos and Simon Yates, the rest of the riders will be hoping that the breakaway takes the win, something that happens quite a lot in this stage. Get up the road and ahead of the chaos, it must be the tactic used by most.
Brandon McNulty – must start as my favourite to win the stage. He could have taken it easy today, but he tested himself and finished 6th, just 25 seconds behind Roglič. His current form is off the chart, and given his GC position, he won’t be chased by Jumbo-Visma. The length of the climbs in this stage are perfect for him, it’s just about choosing the right move to go with. Does he want to risk it and jump in the morning break or go a little later in the stage? This isn’t an easy decision to get right.
Wout Poels – lost a lot of time in the crosswinds, but he’s looked good in the mountains. He doesn’t mind bad weather conditions, some of his best wins have been when the rain has been falling. With Haig sitting a long way from the yellow jersey, Poels should have the freedom to chase some personal glory. One slight issue is the amount of descending in this stage, that has been an issue for him in recent seasons.
Mauri Vansevenant – the perfect stage for him, he’ll love the route. Sitting in 15th place on GC, he’ll have the freedom to jump in the morning break. Mauri is a racer; I like his attitude on the bike. He’ll attack and see how far he can go, having a fast sprint is also good considering the flat finish.
Simon Yates – he’s clearly got great form, but Roglič will be watching him like a hawk. Also, his team is depleted and those left don’t seem to be in good form. Yates has to hope that another team makes the race hard for Jumbo-Visma, then we’ll see if he can drop Roglič.
Dani Martínez – another who’ll be marked closely by Jumbo-Visma. The legs are clearly good just now, but I’m not sure how he wins this stage.
Primož Roglič – now has his stage win, which means it’s now all about protecting yellow. The GC position is brilliant for him, but this stage could be chaotic from the very beginning. He’ll be hoping that Van Aert, Kruijswijk and Dennis hang around until the final climb, that would be perfect for him. Given the time gaps, Primož can easily handle the race after the Col d’Èze. The stage win is irrelevant, it’s all about winning yellow.
I don’t see anyone strong enough to stop Brandon McNulty from winning his second stage, and Primož Roglič will hold onto the yellow jersey.
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