Reith im Alpbachtal > Ritten 165km
Today’s stage has given us a clear hierarchy in terms of the GC fight, as expected, Ineos are in control and that’s a position they like. Bora were happy to help them chase down the break, I’m not sure they’ll be so keen to lend a hand in this stage. That could be good news for the break, but the bad news is this is an easy stage to control, something Ineos will no doubt be keen to do.
Another grey day with only a small chance of rain.
The final 18km is hard, but not as tough as today. It starts with a cat 3 climb (4.5km at 7.8%) and is quickly followed by a cat 2 climb (3.8km at 8.2%) which crests with just under 4km to go. The above image shows all of this, but it stops 400m from home, which is downhill and with a left-hand corner with 100m to go.
The climbs are harder than the numbers suggest, there’s some incredibly narrow sections and double-digit gradients, but the final 3km suggests there’s a big chance of a small sprint.
Please note, the road book and GPX files don’t match up exactly. The road book suggests the finish is about 400m on from where the GPX says, as the bunch take a right turn and finish in a speed skating arena.
How will Ineos approach the finale? We now know their order, Arensman and Thomas will ride for Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart, but I think they’ll be keen on trying to save both riders for the mountaintop finish to come on Wednesday. This opens the door for a late attack to stick, I’m thinking something like when Chaves won in Catalunya back in 2021, that day Ineos tried to protect three leaders.
For this to happen, the attacker needs to have some punch, but also possess enough watts to hold off the chase in the final 3km. The size of the group is also going to be important. If there’s 30-40 riders, the finale will be chaotic and a late attack likely to succeed, it all depends on how hard they do the final climb.
Tao Geoghegan Hart – he’s got one win in the bag, and this is a great chance for a second. For a climber, he’s got a good sprint on a flat finish. Ineos have a very strong team, they’ll look to control this stage and set up Tao for a sprint win.
Aleksandr Vlasov – still lacking a little, but today was a step in the right direction. The flat/downhill finish should allow him to get closer to the win, he’s got a good sprint on him. In this type of finish, a strong lead out is worth its weight in gold. With Kämna to help, Vlasov has a great chance of starting the sprint from the best position.
Felix Gall – was impressive today, but the flat finish isn’t ideal for him. If he’s going to win, he needs to attack and go solo.
Pavel Sivakov – might get a little freedom in the finale, but unlikely. If it ends in a sprint, Ineos will go with Tao.
Santiago Buitrago – this is a good finish for him, he’ll fancy his chances of challenging for the win. If Haig can deliver a good lead out, the Colombian will finish on the podium.
Jefferson Cepeda – what an attack he launched today, he was flying! The problem for Cepeda will be the run for home, we all saw today that he struggles on the downhill and flat.
Luis León Sánchez – it depends on the size of the group. He’s far enough down on GC for Ineos not to chase him, but if the pace is up on the climb, he’s unlikely to survive.
Ineos have the team to chase the break and set a fast pace on the climb, ensuring a sprint from a group of around 20-30 riders.
I’ll take another win for Tao Geoghegan Hart.
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