Samail > Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) 152.4km
Time for the Green Mountain. With the GC position finely balanced, the final stage could get a little tactical. First of all, everyone’s got to get to the foot of the climb in the peloton.
Hot and there’s a little bit of wind around. In previous years, we have seen splits on the road to the climb, teams will need to be wary and not expect to simply roll to the foot of the Green Mountain.
Steep! Head down, full gas, block out the pain.
It’s about 18 minutes of pain. Previous winners are a mix of styles, we’ve had pure climbers like Froome, Nibali and López, but we’ve also seen Lutsenko smash up this climb. Last year, Jan Hirt won by a mile, but does he have the form to do it again this time round?
We have a few pure climbers at the race, but most have already lost some time on GC. Will this buy them some freedom? Movistar have a strong team to support Jorgenson, they’ll expect Sosa, González, and Verona to support him until the final kilometre. If a rider further down on the GC attacks, there’s no need for the team to chase, that is up to the others. Bora could be a team with numbers, but they are likely to go all in for Uijtdebroeks, I don’t think Buchmann will be allowed to chase the win.
Currently, there’s 22 riders within 1 minute of Jorgenson, but some of them will fade on the climb. In the top 10 I can see a couple of pure climbers who’ll fancy their chances of putting the American under pressure on the climb. The issue they’ll have is the form of Matteo, it’s not going to be easy to drop him, he’s riding out of his skin just now.
Okay, I’m expecting Bora to be the team to set the pace on the climb, teeing up an attack from Uijtdebroeks, but with Movistar likely to still have a few in the group, this move should be chased down by a domestique, meaning Jorgenson is still riding “easy”. When this attack is brought back, it’s when the stage win is up for grabs. A rider more than 1 minute down will get some freedom, if the move is timed well, it could take the win. Jorgenson would love another stage win, but the GC is the ultimate goal.
Matteo Jorgenson – I remember back to last year’s Tour de France, he was amazing. That was his first Tour, and we are already seeing the difference it’s made to his legs. I’ve always had Matteo down as a classics rider, Movistar have always been keen on him being a GC rider, I’m starting to think they might know more than me! You might look at his body shape and think he doesn’t stand a chance on the Green Mountain, but forget about all that, we’re talking about an 18-minute effort, full gas. With teammates to help cover moves, he’s in a strong position to win GC. He’s been the strongest rider this week, and I don’t expect that to change.
Mauri Vansevenant – the Green Mountain will likely be too hard for him, but not by much. The Belgian is a fighter, he’ll hang tough and try to surprise. It is possible for a rider like him to do well on this climb, especially if it’s an easy day beforehand.
Geoffrey Bouchard – after finishing 3rd on Monday, he’ll have high hopes of challenging for stage and GC. He fits into the pure climber category, he’ll hope the steep slopes of the Green Mountain prove too much for Jorgenson and Vansevenant, and he can steal in for the stage and GC win.
Rein Taaramäe – same as Bouchard.
Cian Uijtdebroeks – I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do on this climb. The kid is still on 19, he turns 20 later this month, but he’s ready to challenge the older riders for the win. 5th place on Monday was a great result for him, and considering this climb should suit him better, he’s going to be one of the riders challenging for the win.
Alexey Lutsenko – he’s not been at his best in this race, but he’s not been that far away. It could be a similar story in this stage, good but not good enough. Today was encouraging, that was a big attack he threw in, forcing Jorgenson into chasing. He knows this climb, he knows he can win here, I expect a strong showing from him.
Cristián Rodríguez – a solid climber, I think 5th-10th for him.
Jan Hirt – he’s not looking at his best, his bigger targets are later in the year.
Louis Meintjes – it should be a climb he goes well on. He likes riding in hot conditions, but he’s already lost 40 seconds on GC. The other climbs in the race haven’t been his usual style, this is the one he’s been looking forward to. His gap on GC could buy him a little freedom, but not too much. If he’s going to win, he’ll have to do it the hard way.
Davide Formolo – 1:17 down on GC, that’s enough to get some freedom. After performing well in the Saudi Tour, Formolo will hope to be one of the best on this climb. He’ll attack from distance and see if he can get the stage win but winning the GC won’t be possible.
Stage win for Alexey Lutsenko, GC win for Matteo Jorgenson.
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