Aberdeen > Glenshee 180.9km
If you come to the north of Scotland in September you always run the risk of terrible weather, and it looks like the riders are going to be unlucky. There is a yellow weather warning in place from midnight on Sunday until 1500, it looks like the bunch will need their wet weather gear to get through this stage.
Awful! There’s a lot of heavy rain overnight, but it looks likely the first couple of hours of the stage will also have lots of rain and a strong wind coming from the south-east. The rain should ease as the stage develops; it looks like a dry finish but still with a wind around 20km/h.
It depends on where you want to start the classification of the climb as the road does rise for quite a long time. The above graphic shows 9.2km at 2.9%, with the final 3.4km averaging 5.3%. It’s not the hardest climb in the world, but the weather conditions will increase the difficulty.
With a strong wind blowing for most of the day, and lots of rain, this should be a selective day. The best of the crosswind sections come early, this could put teams off trying something, as with just 6 men teams you’ll quickly burn through domestiques. I would expect Ineos to be the team controlling the race, they should get some help from Israel – Premier Tech. Both teams will be happy with the race being together for the final climb, but Ineos will sense a chance of putting someone like Mike Woods into difficulty before we get there. The wind is predicted to ease off throughout the stage, if they want to do something it has to come in the opening two hours of the stage.
The climb up to Glenshee ski centre is exposed, with a strong crosswind coming from the left, this will make the climb feel much harder than the numbers suggest. At points the riders will be sheltered from the wind by the hills in the area, but there are some exposed sections in the final 5km. We don’t often see uphill echelons, but it’s a real chance in this stage.
Ineos have the big favourite for the stage win, expect them to do everything to shelter Pidcock and bring him to the final 3km without having used any energy. It’s up to the other teams to stop this from happening but as we don’t have Jumbo-Visma or QuickStep at the race I can’t see anyone stopping them.
Tom Pidcock – hasn’t raced on the road since the Tour de France, so there is a little question mark surrounding current form, but he looked strong on the mountain bike last weekend. The Tour was a big success for him, his win on Alpe d’Huez was one of the highlights of the race. He’s here to prepare for the worlds, but Ineos will be wanting to see a dominant performance by the team on home soil. This is a race they always want to win, and they arrive with a team capable of doing exactly that. If we get a reduced sprint, it’s hard to see anyone with the speed to trouble Pidcock, it’s his stage to lose.
Dylan Teuns – what is his form like? Since joining Israel – Premier Tech he’s done three one-day races, and he’s not really impressed in any of them. Maybe that was a case of getting some racing in the legs, but he doesn’t seem at his best just now.
Michael Woods – he was a surprise addition to the start list considering he crashed out of the Vuelta not that long ago. This would normally be a good finish for the Canadian, but just like Teuns, there are questions surrounding his current form.
Anthon Charmig – the big Dane has a good turn of speed for a climber, his win in the Tour of Oman shows what he can do on this type of finish. I’ll assume that he doesn’t mind filthy weather, he should be one of the men challenging Pidcock for the win.
Matteo Jorgenson – he’s been training over in America in blistering heat, so the weather could be a bit of a culture shock for him. Matteo normally goes very well in these conditions, but it might take a few stages for him to adjust. This week hasn’t been ideal in terms of preparation, thanks to several cancelled flights and the UK baggage handlers doing their usual, but he’s still going to give it a crack.
Jake Stewart – he had to quit the Vuelta due to a stomach bug, but lucky for him it was a 24-hour thing, so he’s fit and healthy for this race. You won’t find him in the FDJ kit, he’s riding for Team GB, and this is a finish that will interest him. It’s probably on his limit, but if he’s climbing well, he could surprise and still be in the mix with a kilometre to go.
Oscar Onley – the Scottish hope! The 19-year-old has a good kick on him, only Lorenzo Rota could beat him in the second stage of the Sazka Tour. Winning against the likes of Pidcock will obviously be very hard, but I hope to see him finishing on the podium.
Everything points to a Tom Pidcock win.