Chelm > Zamosc 205.6km
Another day, another sprint. Nothing much will happen in the stage, until we get into the final 20km, or so. The stage ends with a lap circuit, something that we often see in this race. The circuit is 9km in length and the bunch complete just one full lap.
Looks like rain for the start of the stage, but it should by dry for the second half of the day.
Pretty easy. There are a couple of corners to help line out the bunch, the last of which comes just before the flamme rouge. The finishing straight is nice and wide, meaning it’s possible to rescue a poor position, just in time for the sprint. When they’ve previously used wide roads for finishes in this race, we’ve seen groups on either side with a big gap up the middle, getting it right usually requires experience.
Jumbo-Visma nailed it today, can they go two from two? Only they, FDJ and Bora have proper sprint trains, the rest only have one or two men to help. As you all know, your chances of winning a sprint stage are significantly increased if you start it from a good position, to do so usually needs a sprint train.
If it was me, I would want a spot just a little back as the bunch turn left with 3km to go. The next 2km is into a strong headwind, if you are on the front too early, you’ll burn through riders as fast as I eat crisps. At the final turn, I’d still be happy with a spot around 10th wheel, as long as I have two teammates in front of me. Once through the corner, this is when the accelerator is hit, surging to the front, taking advantage of the wide road, and securing the win. It’s as easy as that.
Olav Kooij – today was his first world tour win, there’s plenty more to come. He has the experience and power of Teunissen and Van Der Sande to guide in the final kilometre, two riders who would be welcome in any sprint train. One slight issue for the team is that they are one man light compared to the other squads, and when they commit a rider to chase the break, it only leaves four men to work in the sprint train. They still won today, but it does complicate things a little.
Arnaud Démare – they didn’t get it right today, these things happen. I’ve mentioned that experience is important in this type of finish, and most of his train have been around the block once or twice. With today’s effort in his legs, I expect him to be better in this stage, he should be challenging for the win.
Bora – then went with Bennett today, but he lost position in the final kilometre and Meeus had a crack. I’m not sure if the plan is to rotate who sprints this week. Whether it’s Bennett or Meeus, both have the luxury of a strong sprint train to help. They were constantly present in the closing kilometres of today’s stage, but Jumbo-Visma had more men for the final kilometre. As this sprint is different, there is every chance of them getting it spot on and fighting for the win.
Phil Bauhaus – second today, he did very well in the closing kilometres and can be happy with his work, the same goes for this team. He will approach this stage with confidence, he knows he has the speed required to take the win. If he starts the sprint from a good position, he could be the man celebrating at the end.
Mark Cavendish – it’s going to be tough for him, he only has Štybar and Van Lerberghe to help in the finale, but he’s still Cav! His second spell at QuickStep has been brilliant, but I get the sense it could go out with a whimper. I hope I’m wrong, I would love to see some more Cav kisses before the end of the year.
It’s going to be messy, winning two of these sprints is very difficult. I’m going to take a win for Arnaud Démare,FDJ will get it right this time round.