Rivarolo Canavese > Cogne 176.8km
Stage 14 was brilliant, but I’m not a fan of this one. It always frustrates me when we have a big mountain stage, with a disappointing final climb. This usually means we don’t see much action during the day, the GC teams want to keep domestiques back to control the final climb. It might not be hard, but if riders get isolated, we can see gaps. Due to this, it’s another great stage for the breakaway. The two cat 1 climbs also means this is another important day in the KOM battle. Despite having almost 4000m of climbing, I don’t see this being a significant day in the battle for the pink jersey.
Cloudy, warm, with risk of rain.
Plia-Les Fleurs is 12.6km at 6.6%, but that includes a flat section near the top. The descent has a few hairpins, but it’s not overly technical.
The Verrogne climb is 13.6km at 7.3%, a proper alpine effort. The descent off the mountain is very technical, fast, and narrow. GC riders will be keen on being at the front for this one.
I’m underwhelmed with this finish. Hopefully it surprises me.
Given the finish, this is a big day for the breakaway. The flat start isn’t ideal for the pure climbers, but it’s still possible to get in the move. At this point in a grand tour, it’s all about who has the legs, if you are strong enough, you’ll make the break. Once it goes, we’ll see if anyone wants to chase, I would be very surprised if anyone wants to do this.
In the GC group, I don’t expect much to happen, but it does depend on the size of the GC group. If small, we will see attacks, despite the relatively easy gradients. Weirdly, the critical point for the GC riders is the descent off the Verrogne climb, it really is rather tricky.
Simon Yates – will he have anything left after today? I’m not so sure.
Lennard Kämna – after what they did today, will Bora go crazy again? Given the route, it’s very unlikely, so it should mean freedom for Kämna and Kelderman. Given how much work Kelderman did today, I would expect Kämna to be the man for the break. Form is good, and the relatively easy final climb is very good for him.
Davide Formolo – free Formolino.
Wout Poels – it looks like a Poels type of stage. We haven’t seen him in the break for a while, he’ll be keen on changing that.
Koen Bouwman – another day in the battle for the KOM jersey. He was nowhere today, so he should have been able to save some energy for this stage.
Hugh Carthy – lost time today, so now it’s time to refocus and chase stage wins.
Joe Dombrowski – he’s been unlucky so far in this race, he’s made a couple of good breaks, but the GC group have decided it wasn’t to be. He’ll keep trying.
Lucas Hamilton – after getting back in the GC fight, he’s now back out of it. BikeExchange will continue to chase stage wins, expect to see them in the break.
Lorenzo Fortunato – now out of the GC picture, so he can roll the dice.
Bauke Mollema – crashed today, but he still can’t be written off. He started the race with the sole focus of taking a stage win and completing his grand tour collection. This is a stage that suits him well.
Antonio Pedrero – now that Valverde is out of the GC, it will allow his domestiques a little freedom.
I think we’ll see the early move containing breakaway royalty. I’ll take a win for Lucas Hamilton.