The second day of the race already saw the breakaway succeed, as the peloton couldn’t get organized well enough to bring one of the escapee group’s riders back, and that was Andreas Leknessund who took the biggest win of his career after a 19-kilometer long solo move. Alberto Bettiol sprinted to second in the peloton – mistaking it for a win – and Michael Matthews finished third, with Stephen Williams remaining in the race lead.
Positive: Leknessund taking an important win for himself.
Negative: Not a true negative, but Bettiol must’ve been very disappointed to learn he finished second on the day.
Third day of the race sees the peloton back on the hills, however this time with a different dynamic as the finale is more flat, but the first two thirds of the day are relatively hard.
The day starts off with a difficult ascent, of the already ridden Eichenberg (3Km at 7.4%) which is likely to see a strong breakaway go up the road. This is in fact a day that could favour a breakaway as it’s not hard enough to attack the overall classification but it’s too hard for a regular sprint.
The climbs with 120 (8.2Km; 4.5%), 110 (3.3Km; 8.8%) and 93.5 (5.4Km; 8.6%) kilometers to go are quite hard and here is where the peloton may have to opt between loosing units to keep the breakaway under control, or go slower and risk to not have enough road to bring the gap back later on the day. Another ascent with 61 (7.4Km; 4.9%) woll be the last long ascent of the day, and the rolling roads that follow won’t be easy to chase but will also be easier to have an organized chase.
The final climbs come with 48 (2.4Km; 5.8%) and 16.5 (1.2Km; 6.2%) will not be as complicated, and are big-ring climbs. Inbetween and afterwards there will be one passage through the finish line in Grenchen, and some flat roads where the peloton can organize. In a breakaway it will be hard to establish a gap, which can make for very interesting dynamics as the riders head into the famous velodrome.
The warm weather continues, and there will be a small breeze from the eat. It will be a day in the middle of the hills though, there won’t be exposed sections where it can really make a difference.
Breakaway chances: 80%
The stage is too hard for the sprinters and too easy for the climbers to attack. With an uphill start and gaps existing from previous days, this is a breakaway day written all over. Even with the likes of Matthews and Bevin who could on paper have their teams chase as they can absolutely climb in a day like this, to have an organized and strong chase throughout the whole day capable of bringing down the escapee group will be a very hard task.
The day will hardly be for the sprinters, but it’s one of the days that suit them the most so surely there will be some effort to control the race. The sprinters that are here are no ordinary fast men, they could be termed puncheurs with a strong sprint, with Michael Matthews, Patrick Bevin and Alex Aranburu big names to mention. Andrea Pasqualon is looking quite good and could be Intermarché’s card for the day, however in a particular set of circumstances they could also eye a win for Alexander Kristoff. Peter Sagan and Bryan Coquard could on their best day thrive on a day like this, they aren’t looking sharp but are worthy of a mention nevertheless.
From the rouleurs who could thrive from a late attack, there is a lot of quality. The likes of Stefan Kung and Kasper Asgreen could be heading for the race lead if they were to nail a move even if not for stage win purposes. A rider like Matteo Trentin also fits the scenario well, and if he isn’t riding conservative Remco Evenepoel could also have good chances.
Out of the puncheurs, the likes of Max Schachmann, Marc Hirschi and Andreas Kron are again obvious names to point out, although I think they’ll have better chances than here. Alberto Bettiol has also shown himself quite well today so I can consider him a strong contender, whilst Stephen Wiliams and Tom Pidcock sit as wildcards if things go down a reduced bunch sprint.
From the breakaway, in all honesty there are dozens of riders who can win, simply because they won’t be GC threats and Bahrain didn’t seem to urgent to chase anyone down today. The riders very near the lead will have a tighter leash in some way surely though, but further down the ranks there are riders who can very well succeed. Some of them are: Bob Jungels, Damien Howson, Georg Zimmermann, Thymen Arensman, Soren Kragh Andersen, Quentin Pacher, Anthony Turgis, Daryl Impey, Quinn Simmons, Marc Soler, Benoît Cosnefroy, and Thomas de Gendt. Climbers, puncheurs and rouleurs can all succeed from a breakaway.
Inside The Bus
This morning I talk to…
#187 Jay Vine – I see that you’re suffering with the heat, so let’s just stay in the peloton and hope for it to fade in time for the mountains, that’s where you’ll try to perform, not now.
#83 Alberto Bettiol – Alberto let’s just do this one thing, keep your arms down. Maybe don’t celebrate even if you think you’re first just in case. So, you have the freedom to join a breakaway and honestly if things get too spicy on the first climb then attack. You’ve shown a great sprint today but I don’t feel like we can either work or expect a sprint for you to try again.
#31 Gino Mäder – Stay safe Gino. The GC is still the goal. Obviously we don’t want you having to burn yourself for Stephen unless you’re feeling very bad, but we do want to keep the race lead – however we’ll work to have you protected as much as possible.
⭐⭐⭐Zimmermann, SK.Andersen, Simmons
⭐⭐Matthews, Bettiol, Schachmann, T.de Gendt
⭐Bevin, Aranburu, Pasqualon, Kung, Kron, Arensman, Pacher, Turgis
It’s a very hard day to predict honestly, it can go in many ways and like today the winner can be a completely unexpected one. My call is for Quinn Simmons, it feels like the kind of day that suits him and he’s got the KOM jersey as motivation to go in front.
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