Santena > Torino 146.8km
Welcome to Milano-Torino, but a lot harder. This is the stage I’ve been waiting for; it could be the best in the race. We have two times round a lap circuit that contains the Superga climb and a horribly steep kicker. Strap yourself in, this is a stage not to be missed.
Hot as hell.
This is the first climb of the day, it comes after 40km of racing. Will the break go here?
The Superga climb that we should all know well. Horribly steep at the bottom, which normally knocks a few riders for six. They don’t go all the way to the chapel, it’s the same climb they do the first time up in Milano-Torino.
What a nasty little climb. The overall numbers don’t do it justice, the opening 1.5km averages 13%. The road is narrow, perfect for those who want to attack. Last time up, the crest comes with just 12km to go.
Once over the crest we have a fast descent, steep kicker, and then another fast descent. It’s a tricky finish.
Who wants to control the break? Bora will likely have Kämna up the road, UAE will hope to have someone there too. Will Bahrain look to ride for Bilbao and Landa? The problem for them is a lack of numbers, the hopes of the break will likely be in the hands of Ineos. With Bardet now out of the race, they’ll sense a chance of striking a blow before we get to the high mountains but chasing all day will still be unlikely.
Most teams will be happy to get a man in the break, and let us have two battles, one for the stage and the other for the GC. The stage battle will be fascinating, as we also have 81KOM points on offer. With Rosa, Bouwman and Kämna interested in the blue jersey, we should see a fight at the top of each climb. Others in the break will hope to take advantage of these guys burning matches, but they’ll have to watch in case the sprint for points turns into a cunning attack.
Back in the GC group, this is a stage that can explode, it reminds me of the stage Yates won back in 2018, a couple of days before cracking and losing the pink jersey. Two times up Superga is hard enough, but the other climb is very difficult, and then we have the descents. If someone underestimates this stage, it could be the end of their pink dreams. Expect to see the GC riders take big swings at each other in the hope of landing a knockout blow.
Simon Yates – he’ll start as the favourite to win the stage as he’s the best climber who’s out of the GC picture. BikeExchange need world tour points, that’s why he’s still here and not sitting with his feet up in Andorra. The profile for this stage is perfect for Yates, but will he cope with the heat? Throw in the worries about his knee and I think there are too many questions surrounding him to be my pick.
Lennard Kämna – I think the steep climbs could be too hard for him, he’s shown a little weakness already this season when the gradient goes above 10%. Saying that, he’s clearly got great legs just now.
Davide Formolo – will he be allowed to chase some personal glory? Almeida is sitting in a great spot on GC, the team could well decide to keep all their men in the peloton. If he does get to jump, this is wonderful stage for Formolino! He’ll cope well with the steep climbs and the heat; he’ll be a hard man to beat if he makes the break.
Diego Rosa – won Milano-Torino back in 2015, I’ll just leave that there.
Koen Bouwman – he’s got a great kick on him, but will he go too deep going for the blue jersey?
David De La Cruz – loves a short stage, his four road wins have all come in stages under 165km in length. If he gets in the break, he needs to be carefully watched as he’s a cunning rider.
Mauro Schmid – I’ll keep mentioning him until he wins a stage.
Richard Carapaz – this is a big chance for him to start taking time on his rivals. He’ll love this stage, it’s one for the racers in the bunch. Ineos look like the only team who might chase, but they need to be careful as Bora have three riders high on GC and Carapaz won’t be keen on a situation where he’s outnumbered by them. I expect to see him launch a big attack on the penultimate climb and see who can follow.
João Almeida – I think he’ll be focused on staying with Carapaz, there’s no need to try anything fancy. I’m not sure this stage is that good for him, he’ll ride defensively and hope to finish in the group of GC favourites.
Alejandro Valverde – a great looking stage for the old man. Will Movistar contribute to the chase? Probably not!
I’ll take a breakaway win for Davide Formolo, with Richard Carapaz taking time on some of his rivals and moving into the pink jersey.