Lacapelle-Marival > Rocamadour 40.6km ITT
A 41km ITT after three extremely hard weeks, I don’t think the organisers will be popular with the riders. The route looks relatively flat, but it does contain 428m of climbing, which means the roads most be more undulating than they look on the profile. In the last 6km there are two kickers, the first one is 1km at 6% and to finish off there is 1.5km at 8%. Despite being relatively short, these two climbs could have quite a big say in the outcome of the stage, getting your pacing strategy right is very important.
Nice and sunny with temperatures around 30 degrees. The wind isn’t that strong, but it will be a nagging headwind for much of the day. Those out before 3pm get the best of the conditions as the wind is at its weakest at this point.
Wout Van Aert – took it easy today, with an eye on getting as much recovery as possible for the TT. This time last year he dominated this stage, winning the 31km TT by 21 seconds. His form throughout this race has been incredible, not only does he have two wins, but he’s always been on the podium another five times, achieving these results in all types of stages. Now, this year he won’t have it all his own way in the TT, as Ganna is here. They are the two best TT guys in the world, often only split by a handful of seconds over a distance like this. If he’s recovered from his exploits in the mountains, Van Aert has a big chance of taking his third win of the race.
Filippo Ganna – he’s no stranger to winning TTs at the end of grand tours. In both the 2020 and 2021 Giros, he won the final day TT, but it’s not a fair comparison. If you take last year as an example, that TT was 30km long, but it only contained 68m of climbing. The more climbing in this stage is not in his favour, but this season he is climbing better than before. He’s the opposite of Van Aert in this race, the Italian has been able to conserve as much energy as possible in the last 10 days, to try and win this stage. He did beat Van Aert in the Olympics TT and that had 769m of climbing in 44km, so he should approach this day with confidence, especially as he’ll have less of a headwind compared to Van Aert.
Stefan Küng – he’s enjoyed a wonderful season, but he hasn’t managed to win a TT yet. The fact that he’s climbing better than ever before will certainly help him in this TT, but how much power will he have left after such a demanding race? Last year he was 4th in the final TT, he’ll hope to be on the podium at the end of this day.
Stefan Bissegger – he’s brilliant on his TT bike, but I see him better suited to shorter and flatter routes. He should still be challenging for the top 5, but I don’t think he’ll make the podium.
Tadej Pogačar – I don’t think any of us would be surprised to see him challenging for the win. The TT he won last year had 351m of climbing over 27km, he can beat the best in the world, and I imagine he feels like he’s got a point to prove. Hopefully he’s fine after crashing on Thursday, there didn’t seem to be any serious damage, he’ll want to sign off this race with a show.
Jonas Vingegaard – doesn’t have to do anything fancy, it should be a “no risk” performance. Yes, he’ll still lay down the power when he can, but the corners will be taken cautiously, making it very hard to challenge for the win.
Geraint Thomas – he’s a genuine contender for the podium, especially after his wonderful TT performance in the Tour de Suisse.
Yves Lampaert – the winner of the opening TT in Denmark, that feels like a lifetime ago. He has the benefit of going out early, and as he’s won his last two TTs, he must be full of confidence. I think he’ll set the benchmark time and should be good enough for a good spot in the top 10 come the end of the day.
Max Schachmann – solid top 10 contender. It’s been a disappointing race for the German, hopefully he can secure a good result in this stage.
Matteo Cattaneo – Mr Consistent himself, he’ll finish in the top 10.
Brandon McNulty – I’m interested to see what he can do in this stage. Last year he was 11th in the final TT, and this time round he’s in much better form. His performance on Wednesday was incredible, if he can find those legs, he should be one of the men challenging for the top 5.
Alexey Lutsenko – form is on the up, and he’s capable of pulling out a stunning performance. His TT win in the 2021 edition of the Dauphiné was on a 16km course that had 347m of climbing. I would expect him to finish in the top 10.
It should really be a two-horse race, Ganna or Van Aert. The form guide says Van Aert, the route favours Van Aert, the wind conditions favour Ganna. As the whole route is into a headwind, Ganna having 7km/h compared to 14km/h for Wout should be the significant factor in this stage. That means I’ll take a win for Filippo Ganna.