Nice > Nice 117.1km
Time for one of my favourite stages of the year, it really is a thing of beauty. I’m going to attempt to write a preview to match.
A beautiful day to finish the race off. Expect lots of people to remind you this is the race to the sun. Just smile and let them think they’re being smart, don’t get mad.
The climbing starts after just 15km of the stage with Côte de Levens. 6.2km at 5.9% will get the legs going.
Next up is Côte de Châteauneuf (du pape), it’s the easiest climb of the day.
Then it’s Côte de Berre-les-Alpes, which is a steady effort but it’s vital to be at the front for the crest, as this is what comes next.
A beautiful, and technical descent, gaps can be created here.
Côte de Peille is the next climb, and this is when things start to get harder for everyone.
Col d’Èze is the final climb of the day, and it contains a very steep kilometre at way over 10%. This is where Simon Yates put the pressure on last year and dropped Roglič.
Break or GC day? With huge gaps on GC, the breakaway has a good chance of taking this one, but it depends on the attitude of FDJ and UAE. The problem for FDJ is that they don’t have too many strong climbers to try and keep the break close, they’ll hope other teams miss the break and help them chase. UAE don’t have to chase, but they still might, this is another chance for Pogačar to win, he’ll love to do so in front of his friends and family.
The break will hope this doesn’t happen. They would have had a good chance on Friday, but the wind ruined that day for them, and this stage has been good for attackers in the past. One issue could be someone in the top 10 jumping in the move, that would force UAE into chasing and setting up a GC day. With a climb not long after the start, it’s perfect for a strong group of riders to get away and try to develop a big lead. The stage is only 117km, so there’s not too much time to build a lead, that is also a concern for the break. They’ll need the right move to go, then the peloton to sit up and let the lead go out before the GC action kicks off.
The GC action will be Gaudu trying to drop Pogačar, we all wish him well. He’ll try on the Col d’Èze and will likely drop everyone apart from the yellow jersey. Pogačar might be ruthless and attack himself, or he might be happy to ride with Gaudu and put more time into everyone else. Time will tell.
Tadej Pogačar – how much does he want another win? Given that he lives in Monaco, motivation will still be high, there will be no gifts. I don’t think this necessarily means UAE will chase the morning break, it’s not their responsibility to do so. No doubt, Pogačar will be looking at the steep section on Col d’Èze to attack on, I doubt anyone will be able to follow one of his trademark moves. We’ll have to see if this move will win the stage or just cement the yellow jersey.
David Gaudu – he’ll be delighted with how he’s gone this week; it’s been a huge race for him. He’s gradually been improving over the last few years, and now he’s reached the level where the Tour de France podium is a realistic ambition. His team will look to try and set him up for a stage win, but we all know that’s going to be very difficult against Pogačar, but they’ll still try.
Neilson Powless – sits 6th on GC, 2:20 behind Pogačar. A well-timed attack from him has a chance of moving him out of the GC group, and potentially bridging to the break and going on to win the stage. The key thing for him, and everyone else in the top 10, is to attack before Pogačar, they must get ahead of the race before the Slovenian makes his move.
Matteo Jorgenson – he’s 8th on GC, 2:32 behind Pogačar. It’s been a great week for Matteo, and he’ll be hoping for a big ride on his home roads. He’s in the same position as Powless, he needs to attack before the GC battle properly begins.
Fred Wright – breakaway hopeful number 1. Time for his first win?
Tim Wellens – breakaway hopeful number 2. Maybe UAE will allow him to go for it.
Kevin Vauquelin – breakaway hopeful number 3. Unfortunately, lost time today.
Kobe Goossens – breakaway hopeful number 4. Looked good today.
Tobias Foss – breakaway hopeful number 5. Monster turn today, he’s got the legs.
A breakaway win for Tobias Foss, with Pogačar holding onto yellow.