Fiesch > La Punt 210km
This is a race which is hard to predict. Felix Gall took his first professional win today, and he’s now in the race lead, but with a TT to come he knows he needs more time if he wants to win the GC. Skjelmose and Evenepoel are breathing down his neck and as this stage has over 4500m of climbing, the battle for the yellow jersey is still alive and kicking. Will this be another GC day, or one for the break?
Sunny, but not as warm as previous days.
The Furkapass starts after just 22km of racing, perfect for climbers who want to make the break. It climbs all the way to 2375m above sea level, great for those who love a bit of altitude.
Next up is the Oberalpass, which was used as the ITT back in 2021 when Urán took a stunning win.
The Albulapass is the final climb of the day, another one that goes up to high altitude. At 2250m above sea level, this is going to hurt. From the crest, there’s a downhill of 9km.
The final stage is a 26k ITT, both Evenepoel and Skjelmose will fancy taking over 2 minutes on Gall, the Austrian has it all to do in this stage. He currently holds a slim advantage over his rivals, he needs a big gap if he wants to win this race. Gall is going to attack on the final climb, that is for sure, but can anyone follow him?
Before I get to that, will anyone chase the break? I think the answer is no, this is a perfect stage for the attackers. With a GC climb near the start, a strong break will form and never be seen again, the GC teams aren’t strong enough to ride it down. I think we’ll see a classic stage of two races within one race. The break will fight for the win, the GC group will fight for the yellow jersey.
In the GC group, the altitude will hurt. Those in difficulty today, I’m looking at you Remco, are not going to find the final stage easy. This is the day Gall needs to make count, he’s clearly in great form, but can he take enough time to ensure he wins the yellow jersey? He took over 1 minute today, a similar performance in this stage will put him in a great position for the GC. With few domestiques to chase, this is another stage where a long-range attack could take home the bacon.
Felix Gall – today was a brilliant performance, his first professional win. Now he must take a big risk and go full gas for the GC. The TT on Sunday is a worry for him, he needs a big gap to hold off Evenepoel and Skjelmose. Given his current shape, he’s going to attack on the final climb and see what happens.
Mattias Skjelmose – he played it well today; he didn’t waste energy chasing on the front. This meant when Evenepoel attacked, he didn’t lost time in the final metres. Remco is looking vulnerable; this is the stage where Mattias can take big step towards winning the GC. Over 4500m of climbing is a big day for him, this is going to be a massive challenge, can he cope with all the climbing?
Remco Evenepoel – he’s vulnerable just now, like a teenager who’s just told his partner he loves them for the first time. I think they might give him the cold shoulder.
Pello Bilbao – did someone say a downhill finish? This is classic Pello country, if the break is chased down, he’s got a great chance of taking the win.
Rui Costa – breakaway hopeful number 1. He loves this race.
Neilson Powless – breakaway hopeful number 2. He’s quality.
Tom Pidcock – breakaway hopeful number 3. Can he repeat Alpe d’Huez?
Sergio Higuita – breakaway hopeful number 4. Doesn’t look in form.
Wout Van Aert – breakaway hopeful number 5. Will he go for it or wait for the weekend?
Søren Kragh – breakaway hopeful number 6. Another hoping to win a spot in the Tour team.
It’s a day for the breakaway.
Time for Wout Van Aert to show he’s ready for the Tour de France.