Breda > Breda 193.2km
The final stage in the Netherlands, and it’s a stage that was designed with echelons in mind. We got a big sprint today, will there be another one tomorrow?
Cloudy, but it should stay dry. All eyes will be on the wind, it’s going to be around 15-20km/h and mainly coming from the west.
No doubt, people will be jumping up and down telling you they’ll be echelons, but I don’t see it. There’s exposed crosswind sections in the opening 50km, but that’s followed by around 70km of headwind. If we do see some splits, it will come back together.
This section is of interest to me. It might only be short, but if the wind blows then we could see an echelon. Looking at the strength of the wind, I don’t think we’ll see major splits in this stage.
So much easier than today. The road still isn’t very wide, it looks similar to most sprints you see in the BinckBank Tour. There’s a fast right-hand turn with 2.6km to go, followed by another with just 800 to go. The finishing straight is into a strong headwind, those positioned just off the front will have a good chance of taking the win.
GC teams will be very careful throughout the stage, if the wind suddenly picks up, there could well be some splits. If it turns into a standard sprint stage, then it’s all about the final 10km. Sprint trains are important, but in a headwind sprint, those who start the sprint a little further back have an excellent chance of taking the win. It’s weird to say, but having the best train in this stage could be a disadvantage.
Today, only Alpecin chased the break, Bora and Trek will need to get involved in the chase if they want a sprint. The finish will be very messy, we don’t have long sprint trains to get the peloton into order. Then we have the headwind, everyone will be keen on waiting as long as they can before launching. Put all of that together and it’s going to be chaotic.
Tim Merlier – 3rd today, but he would have wanted more. He had a good early position, but lost out a bit in the final 2km. He then managed to jump on the wheel of Pedersen but was shouldered out of it by Dan McLay, which cost him vital energy. As I said in my stage 2 preview, I expect Merlier to get better as the race goes on, but his lead out needs to do better. The headwind sprint will help him, but it will be very messy.
Pascal Ackermann – he was another who was up there today, but it didn’t quite work out. In a turn up for the books, it was Marc Soler leading the peloton with 1km to go, nobody expected that! He’s got the speed to win a stage, especially if Molano can do a proper lead out.
Sam Bennett – great win today, Danny Van Poppel was worth his weight in gold. The Dutch lead out man did two big efforts in the final kilometre to get Bennett into position, then his legs did the rest. Confidence is so important for a sprinter, with this win in the can Bennett will be back to his very best for the rest of the race.
Mads Pedersen – Trek did a great job today, they were the ones launching the sprint, it was a top effort from the team. Okay, Mads didn’t have the speed to hold off Bennett, but they can still be happy with their work in this stage. Tomorrow is another opportunity, Mads has the speed required to win.
Bryan Coquard – it’s going to be messy, there’s a big headwind, he’s exactly the type of sprinter who can benefit from such a finish.
Kaden Groves – same problems today, you can’t win a sprint launching from 10th wheel. He’s another who’ll be hoping the headwind does him a favour.