Bétera > Sagunto 144.8km
This is a very dangerous day for the GC riders. The big climb crests with 28km to go, what happens after is anyone’s guess, but anyone who doesn’t have teammates will be put under pressure. The same climbs were used back in the 2017 Vuelta, and Contador launched a series of attacks to try and distance Froome, but he wasn’t successful. In the end the break just stayed away, and a large GC group came over the line together, but this isn’t a grand tour.
Another nice day.
The Big Climb
The worst of the climb is 2.4km at 11%, it really is very steep. As it crests with a long way to go, we’ll have to see if any of the GC riders fancy going on the attack.
First, the break has a chance, much better than usual. The distance between the final climb and finish will put a lot of the teams off chasing, Bahrain would be the obvious choice as this is a classic Bilbao stage. The issue with chasing is trying to control the final 30km, you open the door to GC riders getting a gap and the fight for the overall will be over.
Once the GC group hit Puerto del Garbí, we’ll see some big attacks, but I’m unsure if they’ll succeed. Bahrain, Ineos, UAE and Bora all have multiple options high on GC, if a group forms on the run for home, containing most of these teams, it will put a huge amount of pressure on anyone who misses it. That’s why I think this is a dangerous stage for those wanting to win GC. If the break is already up the road, and the peloton large for the final climb, attackers will be put off from taking risks, it really is a stage with several potential outcomes.
Pello Bilbao – 2nd today, but this finish is much better for him. The Basque climber has made a career out of winning stages like this, but Bahrain will need to go fast enough on the climb to drop someone like Aranburu. Doing this will be difficult, and a little risky. Use too many riders on the climb and they risk being isolated for the finale. This is a tricky stage to get right.
Giulio Ciccone – the Italian took a brilliant win today; it was good to see him back to his best. Ciccone has a fast sprint, but he is going to lack teammates in the finale, which will make his life very difficult. If he’s forced into chasing down attacks, he won’t stand a chance in the sprint. Having someone like Mollema around is a must for Trek-Segafredo.
Alex Aranburu – 7th today was an excellent result considering the climbing in the stage. This is a stage Aranburu will have been targeting, if we get a sprint from around 20 riders, he should be the fastest. The issue is team support, I don’t see many of his teammates surviving if the climb is taken at a fast pace.
Diego Ulissi – another rider who’s got the sprint required to challenge for the win. UAE have four riders high on GC, they are in a great position for a stage like this.
Biniam Girmay – it’s too hard for Girmay. Famous last words…
Marc Soler – late attack.
Fred Wright – breakaway hopeful number 1.
Bob Jungels – breakaway hopeful number 2.
Gino Mäder – breakaway hopeful number 3.
David De La Cruz – breakaway hopeful number 4.
Splits will happen, groups will come back, and we’ll get a sprint from around 30 riders.
I’ll take a breakaway win for Alex Aranburu.
You must be logged in to post a comment.