San Lorenzo de El Escorial > San Lorenzo de El Escorial 189km
3177m of climbing over 189km means this falls into the easy category compared to some of the other road races this weekend. The riders head out for a big loop, before two laps of a smaller circuit.
Roasting hot, temperatures will be around 35 degrees.
The finishing circuit does contain some punchy climbs, 3km at 6.1%, 2.4km at 7.1% and the final kilometre averages 5.5%, with the final 450m at 8.7%. It’s not the hardest circuit, but the finish is a tough one.
It’s the same as every year, Movistar will try to use their numbers to break the race up and put pressure on the other teams/riders. This is vital as the best Movistar riders are not as strong as the best riders in the race. The perfect scenario for them would be to get a group away which has representation from them, Kern Pharma and Cofidis, putting all the pressure on Ineos and Ayuso.
Movistar – the team with the numbers, which is the same as every year. The punchy finish is perfect for Serrano (local boy) and Aranburu, but the team won’t be happy at taking Ayuso to the line, so they must use their numbers to attack and force others into wasting energy by chasing. Lazkano and Gorka Izagirre seem perfect for the attacking role, Lazkano has been hugely impressive this season. Anything but a win would be viewed as a huge disappointment for the team.
Kern Pharma – this would have been a great race for Adrià, but he crashed out of Occitanie last weekend, I don’t know if he’ll even be at the start line. Without him, the team don’t have a hope of challenging for the win.
Ineos – I would expect to see Castroviejo and Fraile fighting for the win. Rodríguez didn’t try to defend his TT title, so I don’t expect him to be riding. The route is a good one for Fraile, he’ll back his chances of winning this race for the second time.
Cofidis – should be all about Jesús Herrada, this is a very good route for him. He was born the other side of Madrid, but you can be sure he’ll have lots of friends and family cheering him on. He’ll look at the final kilometre and think he’s got a shot at the win, but beating Aranburu and Serrano won’t be easy, Cofidis need to use every climb in the final 50km to take some of the speed from their sprint.
Juan Ayuso – after his fantastic double stage win in Romandie, he arrives here with confidence and no pressure. He won’t have much help, I’m not sure if Soler will be riding, so winning is going to be very difficult, but not impossible for someone with so much quality.
I’m going for one of the local boys to win.
A day for Gonzalo Serrano.