Dôle > Lausanne 186.1km
A stage with “only” 2614m of climbing, but it has a deceptively hard finish. Which of the sprinters will fancy their chances of winning this tough stage? Jumbo-Visma are the obvious choice, this is a great chance for Wout Van Aert to take another stage win.
Another sunny day.
Harder than the numbers suggest, but the key points are into a headwind. The first section of climbing is around 2.2km at 5.5%, followed by a short section of flat. The final 2.2km averages 5.4%, but that includes a final 300 which is flat. Both climbing sections have ramps over 10%, it really does kick up, but both are into a headwind.
If sprint teams simply look at the numbers of the final climb they’ll chase the morning break, 5km at 4.4% is well within the capabilities of someone like Caleb Ewan. It’s too hard for Jakobsen and Groenewegen, but Jasper Philipsen is another who’ll back himself in a finish like this. Then we have Pidcock and Matthews who sprinted well the other day, the finish is suited well to their capabilities.
If Jumbo-Visma get help from Lotto Soudal, Ineos, BikeExchange or Alpecin, then the break shouldn’t stand a chance. Some of you might think it’s pointless to chase the break, simply to set up Van Aert for the win, but I disagree. That is a very negative attitude, for a team like BikeExchange, their best chance of winning the stage is Michael Matthews in a sprint, not from the breakaway. I think a few of these teams will join together and set up a sprint finish.
Wout Van Aert – hopefully he’s fully recovered from his monster effort the other day. The finish is perfect for him and his teammates, they can go hard in the finale and drop most of the fast men. In fact, he could well attack and try for another solo win. With Benoot and Laporte to help, this is a perfect stage for Van Aert.
Michael Matthews – was disappointed to finish 2nd to Pogačar in Longwy, but this is a better opportunity for him. It’s all about hanging tough in the final 5km, staying at the front is crucial for the sprint. The flat final 300m means the fast finishers should have the edge over the climbers, but it all depends on how hard they go up the final ramps.
Tom Pidcock – 4th in Longwy, this is another good chance for him to challenge for a win. He’ll have lots of teammates left for the finish, hopefully they decide to use up some energy and help with positioning.
Caleb Ewan – the finish is close to his limit, but the good news is that both climbs in the final 5km are short, which he normally copes well with. One issue will be a lack of support, he’ll have to do a lot of the position work himself.
Jasper Philipsen – he keeps getting close to taking his first Tour de France stage win, that’s four 2nd places now. He lasted until 1km to go in Longwy, and as this finish is a little easier, he should be confident of sprinting for the win.
Tadej Pogačar – three in a row, it wouldn’t surprise me. The ramps are steep enough for him to attack in the final 2km and see if he can achieve an incredible feat.
Nils Politt – breakaway hopeful number 1.
Mikkel Honoré – breakaway hopeful number 2.
Benjamin Thomas – breakaway hopeful number 3.
Fred Wright – breakaway hopeful number 4.
A few teams will ride together and control the break, setting up a second win for Wout Van Aert.