West Bridgford > Mansfield 186.9km
Movistar are now in control of the race, but with Ineos breathing down their neck, they won’t be able to rest easy. On paper, this is the easiest stage in the race, one that should end in a sprint. The problem on Tuesday was that Bora didn’t want to ride for a sprint until it was too late. As they have the fastest rider in the race, they need to take control from the beginning of the stage, otherwise the break will take the win.
Another day with a risk of showers throughout, but any rain should be light.
Straightforward for the sprint teams, even though there are a couple of uphill sections.
Movistar will ride at the start of the day, but not to chase down the break. We now have a race situation where many are out of the GC picture, and as we only have two “big” sprinters here, the success of the break depends on when Bora and DSM get interested in chasing. As I’ve said in previous previews, the world tour teams cannot underestimate the British conti riders, they are much better than some would think. Also, this break could interest some of the world tour riders.
If it does come back together, the final 5km should be interesting as we don’t have any proper sprint trains here. The closest is Bora, as they have Politt and Archbold to help Meeus in the closing stages, this is a stage that could end in a surprise.
Jordi Meeus – won the bunch sprint on Tuesday, I’m still scratching my head trying to work out the Bora tactics that day. In this stage, they need to commit to chasing the break early in the day, not wait until it’s too late. This is a stage Meeus should be winning.
Cees Bol – he’s got his win but would like another. His lead out is mainly made up of climbers, which isn’t ideal in this type of finish, so he’ll need a little luck in the finale.
Team GB – Stewart was very close in Duns, but today he rode for Watson. Both are very quick, and can challenge for the win in this stage, but at this point I’m unsure who they’ll go for. Whoever gets to sprint will have the benefit of having the best lead out man in the race, which is always a good advantage to have.
Corbin Strong – another who’s chasing bonus seconds. After a 1st and 3rd in the opening two stages, you can be sure he’ll be looking to sprint against the best and try to get on the podium. He won’t have much of a lead out, but the same is true of most in this race. If he gets on a good wheel, he’ll be confident of landing some more time.
Gonzalo Serrano – he’ll have a crack at the sprint as any bonus seconds would been a huge boost for the weekend. If he gets on a good wheel, he can make the podium.
Tom Pidcock – same as Serrano, but his need is more. If Ineos put their mind to it, they have a strong sprint train as Sheffield and Fraile can do an excellent job in the final kilometre. Pidcock needs time, he needs to sprint.
Alex Dowsett – breakaway hopeful number 1.
Andrey Amador – breakaway hopeful number 2.
Connor Swift – breakaway hopeful number 3.
Robert Scott – breakaway hopeful number 4.
A sprint win for Jordi Meeus.