Moirans-en-Montagne > Poligny 173km
This stage looks like a classic 3rd week breakaway stage to me. The opening 40km is lumpy, which means it’s hard to control and with most teams looking to go for the break, it should be too hard for sprint teams to stop a strong break from forming. All the sprint teams know that they’ll get another chance on Sunday, there’s really no need to chase this move, but it depends on which teams miss it.
Another nice day but temperatures will be lower than earlier in the week, which will be welcomed by most of the bunch.
Straight as an arrow, the final turn comes with 8km to go. The road is relatively narrow, moving up won’t be that easy if it ends in a big sprint.
I can see most of the sprint teams happy to sit up and let their loyal domestiques chase the break, it’s the type of stage that normally goes the way of the break at this point in the race. That means the opening hour will be very chaotic, everyone will want to jump in the break as this is a wonderful chance of winning a stage in the Tour de France. Wanting to make the move and having the legs to do so are totally different things, this stage will show which riders have managed to store away some energy.
Dylan van Baarle – he was brilliant in the Dutch road race and has continued that form throughout this race. To see him at the front during mountain stages has been incredible, he’s a much better cyclist now he’s at Jumbo-Visma instead of Ineos. This is one of the reasons riders are turning down the bigger money on offer from Ineos, they know that teams like Jumbo-Visma are better at getting the best out of them. Hopefully now that the team have basically secured yellow, some of them get some freedom.
Matteo Trentin – he’s got three stage wins in the Tour de France, the first came in 2013 and the last in 2019. The Italian is pure quality, and now that they can’t win yellow, it’s the perfect chance to hunt a stage win.
Magnus Cort – another quality breakaway rider. He’s had a quiet race, possibly feeling the Giro in his legs, but he might have saved a little back with the world championships in mind.
Nikias Arndt – I’ve said it before, if the world championships were held in the third week of a grand tour, he’d be the world champion. A lot of attention will be on his teammates, Mohorič and Wright, but underestimate this man at your peril.
Fred Wright – normally goes well at the end of the Tour. He’s not had a chance of taking a win yet, but this is a good stage for him, especially if he gets teammates in the break.
Yves Lampaert – loves a breakaway and has an excellent conversion rate once he’s in the move. He’s another who’s not been seen much in the race, expect to see multiple Soudal – Quick Step riders in the move.
Nils Politt – strong as an ox.
Jasper Stuyven – he’s been close to winning a stage of the Tour on a few occasions. He’s ridden in support of Pedersen and Ciccone throughout the race, it’s time for him to get a chance to chase a win.
Mathieu van der Poel – if the break looks like being big, expect to see van der Poel jumping. He’s not looked at his best in the last three weeks, he picked up a cold which hasn’t helped. If he makes the break, all eyes will be on him, which will make winning very difficult.
Chris Juul-Jensen – just three wins in his career, but he’s an excellent bike rider. Jayco would like a sprint with Groenewegen, but if it looks unlikely, Juul-Jensen would give them a good option from the break.
Jasper Philipsen – if it ends in a sprint, he’ll likely take the win.
As you might have guessed, I’ll go for a breakaway win.
Step forward, Fred Wright.