Aigle > Villars 15.7km ITT
The rarely spotted mountain TT.
We start with 6km of flat, then the mountain begins. The climb is 9.8km at 7.9%, it’s a proper alpine test. We were here back in 2018, with Egan Bernal beating Primož Roglič by just 4 seconds. That day the route didn’t contain the 6km of flat before the climb, it might not sound much, but it does have a big impact on the day.
Teams will have to carefully consider the bike they use, road or TT? A lot will come down to personal choice, but some will also think about changing bikes. Such decisions take a lot of planning to calculate the best option, we’ll have to see if anyone goes for a bike change.
There’s a small chance of rain, hopefully it’s the same conditions for all.
Rohan Dennis – he starts in pole position, with 15s of an advantage over Ayuso and 18s over Vlasov. The Aussie was seventh here back in 2018, but given the way he’s been climbing this week, he is a certainty to finish on the podium in this stage. Being able to climb a mountain while in an aero position is a tough skill to master, Dennis is one of the few in this race who can do this well.
Steven Kruijswijk – he was fourth back in 2018, just like his Jumbo-Visma teammate, a mountain TT is a good stage for him. Due to time lost in the opening two stages, big Stevie is a little out of the GC picture, but a good performance can push him well into the top 10.
Aleksandr Vlasov – as far as I know, this is the first time he’s done a mountain TT at the highest level (I’m not counting the 2020 Vuelta TT). Current form is excellent, and his recent performances in TTs have been very promising. The Russian is only 18s behind Dennis, he’ll see this as a big opportunity to win his second GC title this season.
Ben O’Connor – I think he’ll do well in a mountain TT. O’Connor is enjoying a fine run of form; he’s going to go much better than most of the other non-specialists. He’s 25s behind Dennis, he’s very close to fulfilling his goal of finishing on the podium.
Juan Ayuso – no one knows how he’ll go in a mountain TT. If he has good legs, it will make up for his lack of experience.
Damiano Caruso – dropped his chain today with 400 to go, which was a shame as it’s taken him out of the GC picture. His current form is excellent and he’s one of the best climbers in the world, that should mean he’s challenging for the win in this stage.
Gino Mäder – climbed very well in the 2021 Suisse mountain TT, that will give him confidence going into this one. After a slow start to the season, his form is growing steadily. I expect him to be challenging for the podium.
Luke Plapp – the sky’s the limit for this young man. He’s never done a mountain TT at this level, but we know that he’s an amazing TT rider and climbing very well. If you put those two things together, he should be challenging for the win. Remember, Ineos always do well in TTs.
I see a battle between the Aussies and a win for Rohan Dennis.
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