Llívia > Sabadell 188.0km
A classic game of cat versus mouse, but who will win?
Another cracking day in Catalunya, it better stay like this for another week, as I’m heading there on Monday. The bad news for the break is the headwind for most of the day, it gives the bunch a fighting chance.
Soon after the start of the stage the bunch are faced with this long climb. It’s a cat 1 effort, but not as hard as that classification makes it sound. This is where the breakaway riders will hope to form a large group that will go all the way.
It’s a relatively wide finish and has corners at 1.4km and 700m to go. The finishing straight is a nagging false flat, but the tailwind finish means riders can still go long.
Break versus sprinters, a classic stage. Alpecin and Cofidis are the main teams who want a sprint, but they could get some help from Lotto and Israel. These teams don’t have a great track record in terms of chasing down a strong break, but just how strong will the break be? With big gaps on GC, it’s unlikely we’ll see anyone who’s a threat to Jumbo-Visma in the move, the GC teams will be looking for an easy day, which could lead to an unstructured start.
The headwind means the break needs to be large, probably more than 10 riders, if it wants to succeed. It would also be helpful if it contained someone from Cofidis or Alpecin, we’ll have to wait and see if those teams are happy to chase or day or will try to apply pressure to their rivals.
The start is perfect for the break, but the rest of the stage less so. The peloton will have to climb at a steady rate, a strong break could have 3 minutes of an advantage at the crest, but with 160km to go the advantage swings back round to the peloton. The headwind won’t help, but as the sprint teams aren’t the strongest in the world, the break will still fancy their chances.
Kaden Groves – he should be the fastest finisher in the peloton, it’s a big chance for him to take his first win for Alpecin. They are already down to 6 men; they’ll need help chasing down the break as the team will want to ensure they leave a sprint train for the final kilometres.
Bryan Coquard – he’s got a full team to support, but they lack a big engine to pull back the breakaway riders. Coquard is also lacking a sprint train, and as someone like Guillaume Martin could well jump in the break, we’ll have to see if they go full for Le Coq.
Milan Menten – form is good and he’s sprinting well. I don’t think Lotto will put all their eggs in the sprint basket, but if it comes back together, he could take his first world tour win.
Ethan Hayter – he was up for it in the first stage, and if some of the sprinters are feeling it after a couple of hard stages, he could be the fastest in the sprint.
Ide Schelling – breakaway hopeful number 1.
Rune Herregodts – breakaway hopeful number 2.
Quinn Simmons – breakaway hopeful number 3.
Alessandro De Marchi – breakaway hopeful number 4.
David De La Cruz – breakaway hopeful number 5.
Andreas Kron – breakaway hopeful number 6.
I don’t believe that Cofidis and Alpecin can successfully chase down the break, sod the headwind! I’ll take a breakaway win for Quinn Simmons.