Lloseta > Lloseta 122.6km
Rui Costa, Marijn van der Berg and Kobe Goossens, what a week it’s been! There’s been a late change in the route for this race, thanks to a dodgy weather forecast. The new route is a big lap which is covered twice, and it features one big climb. The finish is the same as planned, but the race now looks a little easier than before.
Baltic! Temperatures won’t get much above zero and there’s more rain around.
Coll de Femenia is the new climb in the race, it is 7.6km at 5.4%. It’s not an easy climb, but it is easier than Puig Major, so it gives those who aren’t the best climbers a chance of making the finale.
We finish with an uphill kick to the line, and a few corners for the riders to navigate. Tim Wellens won here last year; UAE will hope to get something out of this race after three disappointing days.
The new route has forced me into a rewrite! The new stage is only 122km in length and it contains 1877m of climbing, which is much easier than the original route. Most of the teams will still have the same approach, look to push it on the climb and see how many riders you can drop. As the climb is now easier, there’s every chance a few fast finishers will survive, which should set up a relatively big sprint.
The descent is on a nice road, but we saw today that anyone wanting to take risks can hold off a chasing pack. The big riders won’t be doing anything silly; the season is long and this race isn’t important in the grand scheme of things.
UAE – both Wellens and McNulty were DNF today, maybe they are suffering after crashing on Wednesday. Both were said to be fine, but you never know how the body will respond a couple of days after crashing. Almeida and Ulissi were both in the front group today, that will give them some hope for this race. All four of their team leaders could win this race, but we’ll have to see how they cope with the weather conditions.
QuickStep – they have Alaphilippe and Bagioli, both will like the look of this finish. The Italian will be happy he missed today’s race; it was a good one to sit out. QuickStep were the team to take control today, but they couldn’t bring Goossens back and then the chase fell to pieces. Given the riders they brought over to Mallorca, they really should be winning something. This is another excellent chance for them.
Hugh Carthy – he’s looked impressive in the last couple of days, he doesn’t mind cold and rain. The finish isn’t ideal for him, so he needs to attack on the climb.
Patrick Konrad – the best Bora option. Should be fighting for a top 10.
Alex Aranburu – if he survives the big climb, he’ll be very hard to beat. Aranburu has a very fast sprint, especially when the road goes up. The climbers on the other teams will be aware of this, the pace on Puig Major needs to be high to put the likes of Aranburu into difficulty.
Axel Zingle – another who is a big danger if he survives the climb. He made the front split on Wednesday, then sprinted to 4th place on Thursday. He’s a decent climber, but if the likes of QuickStep and UAE go for it on Puig Major, he won’t stand a chance.
Kobe Goossens – can Wanty take another win? It’s unlikely, but they are flying just now.
QuickStep to get it right and a win for Andrea Bagioli.