Alcalá de Guadaira > Alcalá de los Gazules 161.0km
On paper, the easiest stage of the race, but only if the wind agrees.
There could be a lot of wind around. Some reports are saying 55km/h, which is insane and dangerous for the peloton. Other reports say the wind will be around 20km/h, it’s one of those days of waiting to see what happens on the road.
It’s the finish that Tim Wellens won in 2018 and 2019, but the exact position of the line is different this time round, there’s a little bit more descending after the steep climb has been dealt with. I don’t think this slight change will make much of a difference.
It’s all to do with the wind. The road south from Sevilla is full of exposed sections, it will split if the wind is up. With 30km to go, the bunch turn left and it’s a block headwind until the finish.
Crosswind stages always mean the break doesn’t stand a chance, the pace in the peloton is far too high for the morning move to have a hope. This stage looks like being a constant wait for echelons, and then to see who benefits.
This is a stage classics riders will be very happy about, the problem is, there aren’t many here. Sep Vanmarcke is the standout, but if the wind blows, the front group will be full of the strongest riders in this race, expect to see climbers like Pogačar and Mas present. However, it could be a long day for Bahrain as they look to protect Landa and Buitrago, two riders who seem allergic to wind.
Tadej Pogačar – obviously, he’s on a different level compared to the other riders in this race. He’ll enjoy crosswinds, it’s not often he gets to practise echelons in a race. The final climb is another that suits him perfectly, his seated power makes it hard for anyone to beat him.
Dylan Teuns – tried his hand in today’s break, he’s likely to wait in this stage for the final climb. On paper, he’s one of the few who could challenge Pogačar.
Enric Mas – wasn’t far off today, it was good to see him trying to take the race to Pogačar. Beating him will be incredible difficult, but you got to keep trying.
Sep Vanmarcke – breakaway hopeful number 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Tim Wellens – can he take his third win in Alcalá de los Gazules? The prospect of echelons means he won’t be allowed to jump in the break, he’ll need to stay close to Pogačar. Once on the final climb, he could be allowed to try and go for the stage win. The hill is one he knows; it suits him very well. Pogačar’s a good guy, he’d be more than happy to help Tim take the win, as long as Wellens is strong enough to beat everyone else.
It’s all about the wind, it’s a wait and see type of day. If it blows, Tadej Pogačar will be at the front, and he’ll take another win.
Due to high winds, the finish has been changed, but not by much. It’s a little shorter, but it’s still an uphill cobbled finish. The break currently have a nice gap, Tim Wellens is the big favourite to win another stage in this town.