Barcelona (Montjuïc) 135.7km
There’s a change compared to previous years; the organisers have inserted a harder climb at the beginning of the day. Good news for climbers looking to get in the break.
Another beautiful day with temperatures edging above 20 degrees.
6.6km at 5.4% is an interesting climb, it’s a good chance for a strong break to form and get up the road.
It’s beautiful! 6 laps, each one containing the nasty climb up to the cable car station, which is 800m at 11%. The climb is important, but the descents are also crucial too.
10 seconds separates Roglič and Evenepoel, the race is still wide open. The battle for the break will be fierce, both Soudal – Quick Step and Jumbo-Visma would like to get a satellite rider in the move, it would be a great if they manage to pull it off.
Once we hit the circuit, the pace will gradually increase, the final two laps will fly by. We all know that Evenepoel will attack, but when? With over 1 minute to Almeida, the battle for the title should be between the big two, but there’s a big chance another GC rider can take the stage win. Evenepoel will attack, Roglič will try to follow, if he does manage to do so then the pace will drop and it’s possible for someone to go over the top. We saw today that Evenepoel will go down swinging, and he’s angry! The problem will be dropping Roglič, but he’ll keep trying until the bitter end.
What you’ve got to remember is that the stage is hard, but the climb on the circuit rarely splits the top riders, it’s not long enough. UAE should be looking at this stage and expecting a win, they’ve got three great options, it’s all to do with timing the move to perfection.
With the GC battle going all the way to the end, the break will be worried they won’t be able to take the win. The issue is that Soudal – Quick Step will want a fast pace on the circuit, which will quickly eat into whatever gap the break have. With a gap of 10 seconds, the bonus seconds would be a big help to Evenepoel, I expect his team to control the break and set up a grandstand finish.
Remco Evenepoel – can he manage to drop Roglič? If he wants to win the race, he needs to do so. Soudal – Quick Step will be aggressive and try to isolate Roglič as early as possible, then Remco strikes. The first few attacks are unlikely to drop Roglič, but he’ll keep going. From a tactical point of view, it would be beneficial for Remco to blow the race apart, then someone like Almeida or Soler attacks, this will force Roglič into working on the front, and Remco attacks over the top. It’s risky, but it could be the right tactic to play.
Primož Roglič – this stage will play out like a game of chess, Roglič needs to play like a grand master. Weirdly, Roglič has no control over most of what will happen in this race, he’s forced into a reactive position. He will follow every move of Evenepoel, but if he doesn’t have any teammates left, he’ll be worried about attacks coming from Almeida. He knows by chasing down an attack like this, he’ll use up vital energy and be vulnerable to a counterattack. My advice would be to work with Evenepoel, gapping Almeida, and then take his chances from there.
UAE – Soler and Almeida should be their options for this stage, I would play both, not just Almeida. Soler is in brilliant form, the way he’s been riding this week deserves a win, he’s certain to attack once we hit the circuit. Almeida will ride a different race, waiting and trying to follow the moves of Evenepoel and Roglič, then looking to take advantage of those two not working well together. UAE are still in with a shout of winning the stage and overall title.
Richard Carapaz – he’s the best option to win from the break.
We’re in for one hell of a stage.
Soudal – Quick Step will kill the break, Evenepoel will launch a series of attacks, which Roglič will cover, then Almeida will go over the top. Remco will look at Primož, Primož will look at Remco, and João Almeida will win the stage. I have no idea who’ll take the title, my gut says Evenepoel.
You must be logged in to post a comment.