Lancut > Rzeszów 178.4km
Today was a little bit of a weird one. We had a crazy start, with GC riders attacking and trying to put Bora under pressure. Then it settled down, with the rest of the stage being ridden at a steady tempo, including the last two climbs. This stage is the last one climbers can make a difference, it’s now or never if you don’t have a great TT. Will we see a strong group form at the start? Will it be another day for the sprinters? Will I manage to correctly predict it?
Cloudy, but it should stay dry, and it will still be hot.
Three unclassified climbs in the opening 25km will make the start exciting to watch. The climbs aren’t particularly long or hard, but it does give chances to put Bora under pressure.
This section starts with 40km to go and lasts for 11km. The first climb is unclassified but is still 1.25km at 7%, this is quickly followed by the cat 3 climb, which is 1.4km at 7.8%. The road then bumps up and down for a few km, before the bunch hit 13km of flat before the final climb of the day.
3.1km at 3.7% isn’t hard, but the final kilometre at 6% gives attackers a chance to get out of the peloton, from the crest there is just 9km to go.
Bora were put under pressure at the start of today’s stage, and Higuita only had Aleotti left, luckily for the Colombian he did a great job. If someone like Vansevenant wanted to attack today, you can be sure he’ll do it again in this stage. If you don’t TT well, you must go for it in this stage, this is no point simply rolling around waiting for Thursday’s time trial. The stage is full of little kickers around 1km at 9%, it is perfect for punchy climbers who want to attack.
The good news for Bora is that there are several teams who’ll want to chase and set up a stage win for their chosen man. Ineos will likely help to shape the stage, they still have four men high on GC, and Puccio who’s riding like a monster just now. Will they put all their eggs in a sprint win for Hayter? Will they let Carapaz attack to put pressure on Higuita? Time will tell.
The sprinters surprised me today, this stage has less climbing, they’ll hope to be challenging for another win. We do have several challenging kickers throughout the day, but if they make it over the final classified climb with 32km to go, it’ll be a sprint finish. It’s one of those days that could end in a sprint, but it all depends on how hard the GC riders want to make the stage.
Ethan Hayter – it all depends on the size of the front group. As it’s a flat sprint, Hayter will need a hard race and a group of around 40-50 riders. He’s still the big favourite to win the GC but getting some bonus seconds would give him a little buffer heading into Thursday’s stage.
Olav Kooij – he impressed today, he can certainly handle a hill of two. If it’s a big sprint, he’ll be the winner.
Pascal Ackermann – confidence is a valuable commodity for a sprinter, his win today ensures he starts this stage full of himself. His win was a brilliant display of positioning and power, it’s time for him to kick on and turn 2022 into a success.
Arnaud Démare – nothing to show yet in this race, but he’s climbing well. He’s got two more chances to take a win, I think his form is growing.
Richard Carapaz – I need to include a GC rider just in case we get a crazy stage. As I’ve already mentioned, this is the final chance for climbers to make a difference, hopefully Ineos decide to ride an attacking race.
Rémi Cavagna – he’s been very keen on attacking this week, but making it stick has been a problem. It looks like he’s got good legs, he’d love to get away in a strong break and fight it out for the stage win.
I’m really not sure what we’ll get in this stage, but as it’s the last chance for the climbers, I hope it’s an attacking day. I’ll go for a strong group to get away on the climbs and Richard Carapaz to take the win.