Atripalda > Salerno 171km
Stage 4 was crazy, stage 5 promises to be a quieter affair. The opening half is lumpy, but this is a day that’s destined to end in a sprint, however, there’s a chance for the break.
A lot of rain is predicted, it looks like being a wet day on the bike for the peloton.
Very straight, the last corner comes with 7km to go. The lack of corners is good news as the roads will be wet, but as usual in a sprint like this, timing is everything. The finishing straight isn’t the widest, I would advise an early position at the front.
The first stages saw the break fall off the front, but I think there should be more of a fight in this stage. Breakaway riders will look at the lumps in the opening half of the stage and see an opportunity to build a lead over the peloton. This gap will be harder to close than usual thanks to wet roads, breakaways have a better chance of winning when it rains.
Break management will be very important, the opening 30km includes a couple of unclassified climbs that will hurt the pure sprinters. Some will look at the start and think it’s a good chance for Trek-Segafredo, Alpecin and Jayco to push on and hurt the non-climbing sprinters, but I don’t think they necessarily will. The issue is having to keep pushing for the rest of the stage, there’s an awfully long way to go. Pedersen and Groves have the speed to win a full sprint, and as Matthews already has a win, I think we could see a steady tempo in the first half, all depending on who’s in the break.
Most teams at the race are either here for sprints or GC, that cuts down the amount of potential breakaway riders for this type of stage. It could be another day with pro-conti teams populating the break, which will make it hard to challenge for the win, but the rain will help.
So, I don’t think we’ll see Jayco or anyone else looking for a fast start, but the composition of the break will decide how the sprint teams approach this one.
Mads Pedersen – held up by the crash in stage 2, then was pipped by Matthews in stage 3, he’ll see this as a big chance of taking his first win of the race. He’s got an excellent lead out, equal best in the race, and they’ll be itching to get it right. A win will see him join the elite club of riders who’ve won stages in all three grand tours, he fully deserves a seat at this table. He won’t mind the rain; the Danes are hardy souls.
Kaden Groves – his sprint in stage 2 wasn’t great, but he was better in stage 3. Just like Pedersen, he’s got an excellent sprint train, hopefully stage 2 was just one of those days. The key to Groves winning is forming a good relationship with Ramon Sinkeldam, he’s an outstanding last man.
Jonathan Milan – took a brilliant win on Sunday, the best moment of his fledgling career. He doesn’t have a long sprint train, but he’s got the power to challenge for the win.
Fernando Gaviria – I look at this stage and think it’s a good one for him. He doesn’t mind a bit of rain, and he’s got the cojones to take a few risks in the finale. His lead out Is okay, but he’s excellent at jumping from train to train, his track smarts give him an advantage over his rivals.
David Dekker – 2nd on Sunday, he’ll take confidence from that and hope for even better in this stage. Arkéa’s lead out doesn’t look much, but they punch above their weight.
Pascal Ackermann – seems in good spirits but only has one man to help in the finale. This isn’t great, it makes it so hard for him to win a stage.
Mads Würtz – breakaway hopeful number 1.
Stefan Küng – breakaway hopeful number 2.
Time for the big man to get it right, it’s a win for Mads Pedersen.