Talavera de la Reina > Talavera de la Reina 138.4km
After today’s chaos, strap yourself in for another bonkers stage. Just 138km long, with two laps of a circuit with a big mountain, but the final time up crests with a whopping 42.5km still to go. Do you have any idea what’s going to happen? Anyone? No, me neither.
Another nice day, temperatures won’t be too hot.
18.1km at 4% doesn’t sound like much, but that does include two downhill sections. The climb never gets overly steep, but it will certainly provide a challenge for those who don’t climb well. The descent is easy, it’s going to be almost impossible to create gaps.
I have no idea! The climbs aren’t hard enough for the GC riders, and the long descent to the finish should also deter any GC teams who were even half thinking about trying something. I really should be a day for the break, but after today’s crazy racing, anything is possible.
No doubt, the fight for the break will be intense, especially as it should go on the climb. The attitude of those sitting around 8th to 12th will decide the type of stage we get. With everyone looking to defend their position on GC, any attacks will be chased down, but it’s still possible for someone in that position to sneak in the break, then we’ll see the peloton chase. I say this a lot, but the composition of the break will decide if it goes all the way.
It will also be fascinating to see the type of rider who makes the move, I fully expect some fast finishers to get over the climb near the front of the race, they’ll be a big danger to the climbers wanting a stage win. The long descent to the finish also allows some dropped on the climb to get back into contention. The stage design is a good one, there are lots of possibilities in a day like this, well done to the organisers.
Fred Wright – him again! Another stage that looks good for him, he could well be the fastest rider in the front group. The problem will be everyone else will know this, which will make his life very hard.
Alejandro Valverde – one last dance for Bala? He’s not tried to go for a single break in the race, surely, he gives it a bash in this stage.
Gino Mäder – form seems to be on the up, and this is a good stage for him. Mäder has a surprisingly good sprint for a climber.
Luis León Sánchez – yet another option for Bahrain, this should really be a day they win. The experienced Spaniard has looked strong throughout the whole race, he deserves a win.
Bob Jungels – another with improving form, it’s a stage that should suit him well, having a big engine will be a big help on the run for home.
Sergio Higuita – in today’s break and looked pretty good. He’s got a fast sprint, so he won’t be scared if it ended in a reduced sprint.
Dylan Van Baarle – another with a deceptively fast sprint, but that’s normally after 270km, not 140. Ineos have been very active throughout the race, I hope to see the classy Dutchman given some freedom in this stage.
Daryl Impey – one of the fast men who’ll hope to survive the climbs, but it all depends on which climbers are in the group and how hard they make it. Everyone knows about his speed, which will make it hard for him.
Brandon McNulty – not heard a whimper out of him in this race, he’s clearly found it hard to get going after such a demanding Tour de France. I’ll still include him though, as he’s capable of the incredible.
Xandro Meurisse – was up there today, so why not.
Mads Pedersen – crashed today, so it depends on how he feels. If he’s okay, he’ll likely be in the mix fighting for the stage, the climb won’t scare him.
A breakaway win and one of those Bahrain riders to take it. I’ll take a win for Fred Wright.