Pescara > Jesi 196.1km
A stage with a very boring start, but the second half looks great. Constantly up and down, a route that will likely be too hard for many fast men, but not all. Will we see anyone try and control the early break? That’s the big question of the day.
Scorchio! There isn’t much wind about, but it will be a crosshead wind for the start of the stage.
It all depends on when the action kicks off. The first two cat 4 climbs come with a lot of the day still to come; it would be a surprise to see them raced.
This is the final 50km of the stage, you can see it’s constantly up and down. Taken on their own, none of the climbs are actually that hard, but the repetitiveness is what will get to some of the fast men. The final categorised climb is 1.75km at 6%, and it crests with just 6km to go, most of which is a fast downhill, and the final 400m rises at 2.5%. This is the same finish where Alaphilippe won the bunch sprint back in the 2019 edition of Tirreno.
Who wants to control? The second half of the stage makes it very hard for anyone to think they’ll be able to set up a sprint finish, but the headwind at the start of the stage isn’t ideal for the hopes of the morning move. Yet again, the composition of the break is crucial to its chances of surviving. If Alpecin, Wanty or EF aren’t in it, we could see chase, maybe just until the climbing starts.
A secondary move is a likely scenario in this stage, depending on the size and makeup of that initial selection. The stage is very good for the likes of van der Poel, Girmay and Cort, but will they risk it and try to jump in the morning break? Say the break only has six men, then it’s very likely we’ll see a chase. However, if the move is bigger and contains some of the world tour teams, there’s every chance it survives until the very end. It really is a tricky stage to predict, the opening 30km will determine the type of race we get. This is what I think could happen:-
Scenario 1 – the break goes in the first couple of kilometres, and it features the usual mix of Androni and EOLO riders, but doesn’t have anyone from Alpecin, Wanty and EF.
Outcome – the three teams join to chase down the morning break. Once that’s been done, we’ll see attacks in the final 40km, and a small group or solo rider takes the win.
Scenario 2 – the break takes a long time to form and when it eventually goes it features riders from the big teams, including van der Poel and co.
Outcome – the break stays away until the end and battles it out for the stage win.
Mathieu van der Poel – again, he starts as the big favourite to win the stage, but should he really be? Judging by the way he’s been riding in recent stages; I get the feeling he’s not at his very best. We are now at stage 10; this is the longest he’s lasted in a race. He’ll likely have some fatigue in his legs, especially as he’s not had much racing in this season. Add the hot temperatures into the mix and you start to think he’s beatable, despite the stage suiting him perfectly. Watch him go win it now!
Biniam Girmay – just like van der Poel, this is unchartered territory for him in terms of the length of the race, but he seems to be holding his form. In the nine stages we’ve had so far, Girmay has finished in the top 5 on five occasions, that’s a stunning record for a grand tour debutant. He’ll see this as another big chance to take his first grand tour stage win.
Magnus Cort – always said that he hoped to grow into the race. Well, it’s now stage 10, so it’s time for him to start producing the goods. Like I’ve said already in a few previews, this is a great stage for him, he should be challenging for the win.
Caleb Ewan – it’s unlikely we’ll end in a sprint finish, but if it does, don’t discount the little Aussie. He might not be climbing as well as we’ve seen him do before, but a stage like this suits him well and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fighting for the win at the end.
Fernando Gaviria – another who’ll be praying for a sprint finish. The Colombian is a better climber than most of his sprint rivals, but with UAE looking to attack, he could be disappointed come the finish.
QuickStep – they have Schmid, Knox and Vansevenant for this stage, all three are good options. Schmid looked good the day De Gendt won, he has the punch required for the climbs in this stage. Now that Vansevenant is out of the GC picture, it frees him up to attack, and this is a great stage for him. Knox was in the move on Sunday, these hills are reminiscent of the north-west of England, he should feel at home on the rolling roads.
UAE – same again for them, attack with Ulissi, Covi and Formolo and see what happens. All three look in decent form and will like the look of the second half of the stage.
Alpecin – with all eyes on van der Poel, it’s a good opportunity for the likes of De Bondt, Oldani and Riesebeek to shine. All three have the power required for a stage like this.
Jhonatan Narváez – come on Ineos, let your domestiques have some fun.
Tom Dumoulin – the start is good news for someone with a huge engine like Tom, he can use his power to jump in the morning break. The big mountains no longer look to his liking, but as a man who’s previously won the BinckBank Tour, these hills should be good for him.
Harm Vanhoucke – looked great on Saturday, helping De Gendt take the win. He’ll keep trying to hit the breaks, in the hope of landing his first pro win.
QuickStep haven’t won for a while, which means a win is just round the corner. I’ll go for Mauri Vansevenantto take his first grand tour stage; he should love the hills in the final 60km.