Burgos > Burgos 156.8km
The first stage of the race and it’s the usual finish up at the castle. I wonder which type of rider will take the win this year. Sprinter, puncheur or climber?
Roasting hot, temperatures are due to peak at 35 degrees. We have some lovely, exposed sections in the final 60km, but with the wind only around 15km/h, I don’t think we’ll see significant splits.
The bunch climb up to the castle on two occasions, teams need to be wary first time up as it is possible to get a strong group off the front. The approach to the climb is a furious downhill, then it’s a tight right-hand corner. You need a good position for the last time up if you want to challenge for the win. The last winners here were Planckaert, Großschartner, Nizzolo, Gavazzi and Landa which shows the different types of riders who can take the win.
The cat 1 climb in the middle of the stage and doesn’t usually see any action. This stage should be all about the two ascents up to the castle, especially as the wind isn’t that strong. In previous editions we’ve seen a strong team blast up the hill first time round, trying to get a group off the front, with just 14km to go it is possible for this tactic to work.
Despite that, the most likely scenario is a “sprint” finish up the climb. A good position for the foot of the climb is essential, the road kicks up as soon as the climb starts, those far back will have too much traffic to negotiate through. Get a good position at the foot, hopefully with a couple of teammates in front. The team who controls the climb will have a big say in the type of winner we get. If it’s a climbing team, it is possible to make it a very hard pace, and a puncheur will win. If it’s a sprint team, they can climb at a steady pace and set up a win for a sprinter.
Davide Ballerini – looked in wonderful form in Wallonie, back to his best. This is a brilliant stage for him, and he has the team to control it. Not only does he have the likes of Knox and Masnada, but he has the ultra-mythical climber, Pieter Serry! Not many can say they’ve dropped Pogačar on the Jaizkibel.
Iván García – crashed on Sunday, so we’ll have to see if he’s carrying an injury. If he’s okay, this is a big chance for him to take a win. 2022 has been a poor year for him, he could do with a win this week.
David Dekker – it looks like he’ll be leaving Jumbo-Visma, destination currently unknown. Dekker is a huge talent, but for whatever reason, it’s just not clicked for him since turning pro. Hopefully he can hit top form and show everyone what a talent he is.
Matteo Trentin – just like Ballerini, he impressed in Wallonie. The Italian will be one of the big favourites for this stage, especially if he can start the climb in a good position. Last year he finished the season in fine form, let’s see if he can do it again.
Jon Aberasturi – another rider who’s not had a great year. He’s done this race on many occasions, 5th is his best finish in this stage. He’s got a very fast uphill sprint, he’s a threat if he gets a good position for the climb.
Omar Fraile – he’s not had any opportunities yet at Ineos, but he knew that when he signed for them. As this is a small race, it would be good to see him given some freedom. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him sprint, but this is a guy who once beat Sonny Colbrelli in an uphill sprint.
João Almeida – the fastest finisher of the climbers, I’ll include him just in case the climb is done at a crazy pace.
I think we’ll see a controlled stage and a win for Davide Ballerini.