Magnanville > Livarot-Pays-d’Auge 211km
A punchy day in the north of France. The route is very different to last year, it looks quite hard to me, despite only having 2117m of climbing.
A bit cloudy but it should stay dry. The wind is around 20km/h, but the route is protected by a lot of trees.
This section starts with around 40km to go and finishes with just 9km remaining. You can see it starts and ends with a steep climb and has lots of little bumps in-between. Not only that, but the roads are narrow, making it very hard to organise a chase.
This is the last hill that needs to be climbed. Not only is it incredibly narrow, but it’s also brutally steep. 1.1km at 9.5% doesn’t sound too bad, but the double-digit sections are very difficult.
With many world tour teams not present, it opens the race up, which is great for the watching fans. We’ve got AG2R, FDJ, Cofidis, Arkéa, TotalEnergies, Uno-X and Lotto as the big teams, but who’s going to dictate the type of race we get?
I think we’ll see Groupama – FDJ and Cofidis take control of the race, both teams are very strong and have multiple options for the win. Once the bunch hit the final 50km, expect to see lots of attacks. FDJ need to put the pressure on Cofidis, before setting up a big move on one of the steep climbs, they need to drop Coquard. I suspect we’ll see the race winning move go on the final climb, it’s narrow and steep, perfect for a climber to launch an attack. With just 9km to go from the top, and a tired peloton, chasing down this move will be very difficult.
Anthony Perez – he’s already got one win this season and a host of other impressive performances, 2023 is going well. This is a very good race for him, he doesn’t mind a few hills and he packs a fast sprint. Cofidis arrive with a good team, Perez provides them with a strong option.
Guillaume Martin – maybe a bit too much of a pure climber for this route, but I need to include him as the race could split in the hills. He’s not had much to write home about so far this year, but he’s a quality rider and provides Cofidis with another option.
Bryan Coquard – option number 3 for Cofidis. The climbs could be too much for him, but he’s going well just now.
Valentin Madouas – illness meant he had to abandon Flanders in the opening hour, that would have been a huge disappointment for him, but there are plenty of opportunities over the next couple of months for him. With Amstel Gold on Sunday, he’ll be keen on getting a hard race in the legs, the punchy climbs are good for him. He’s the “biggest” rider on the start line, which means he’ll get a lot of attention from the other teams, which could open the door for one of his teammates.
Lenny Martinez – just 19, but ridiculously talented. He comes here after going very well in Catalunya, 12th on GC was a great result considering it was his first world tour stage race. With Madouas getting a lot of attention, this could be a chance for him to take his first professional win.
Fredrik Dversnes – the man of the moment! He took a brilliant win in La Route Adélie de Vitré and backed that up by winning the final stage in Région Pays de la Loire and finishing 2nd on GC. The Norwegian is clearly experiencing a brilliant run of form, expect him to be in the mix here too.
Élie Gesbert – 8th in GP Miguel Indurain was a welcome return to form for him. This is the type of race he likes, but Arkéa don’t have the strongest team to support him. Despite this, he’ll still hope to be challenging for the win.
Valentin Ferron – 3rd in Région Pays de la Loire, so his current form is good. He was 2nd here last year, so he arrives with hopes of going one better.
Jérémy Leveau – just finished 4th in Région Pays de la Loire, which is a great result considering he rides for a smaller team. Winning against the quality of rider already mentioned will be hard, but I hope to see him challenging for the podium, especially as he’s a local boy.
He’ll go on the final climb, take a small group with him, and win the sprint.
The perfect preparation for Amstel Gold, a win for Valentin Madouas.
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