The heat kept pushing on today’s stage, as many suffered and some differences were made. Aleksandr Vlasov took the win at the top of the complicated day, beating Neilson Powless and Jakob Fuglsang in the final sprint between late attackers, and jumped into the race lead aswell.
Positive: The GC riders that survived the heat were definitely winners. Vlasov taking the win and race lead, aswell as Jakob Fuglsang were the biggest winners from the day.
Negative: Stephen Williams cracked early, Evenepoel cracking aswell as loosing important time for the GC. Alexey Lutsenko another victim of the heat, as was Gino Mader who abandoned. Adam Yates and Sepp Kuss abandoned before the stage start with Covid-19 cases (in Jumbo-Visma).
The race enters the Alps, with a violent mountainous stage that is set to make serious differences and define the general classification. The start will take place in Locarno and will be completely flat, as the race heads towards the first pass.
Before the categorized ascent itself the riders will climb around 1000 meters, however then they find 13.6 kilometers at 7.8%. The summit comes at almost 2500 meters of altitude and 86.5 kilometers to go. A long descent will follow back again into the Rhône valley, and into the final ascent.
In the profile it doesn’t look harder than the Nufenenpass, however it is the case. The Moosalp is 17.8 kilometers in length and has 7.9% average gradient and is a climb that features tough gradients right from the base. There is no rest, it’s a very long ascent that will see the riders test their full climbing capabilities.
With the altitude the temperature will be lower, but by no means a fresh day. It will keep being complicated.
Breakaway chances: 20%
It’s possible if a strong climber goes up the road and the peloton rides conservative until the final climb, but that’s unlikely. Whatever happens, a big GC battle will occur which means the long final ascent will be ridden at full pace.
Aleksandr Vlasov & Sergio Higuita – With the abandon of Yates BORA became the team with depth to play here. Such hard ascents will make it hard to actually benefit from the strength in numbers, however it’s inevitable to think that Vlasov and Higuita can benefit from each other’s presence as they’ve done in Romandie. I wouldn’t have Max Schachmann as a favourite, however he seems to be back into strong form and will be an interesting rider.
Remco Evenepoel – Evenepoel will be a wildcard. If he can ride as he did in Norway, surely he can fight for the stage win. However this will be quite a long effort and today’s signs were bad considering the possible heat. A test for Evenepoel above all.
Jakob Fuglsang – Fuglsang has been looking in great form and his win at the Mercan’Tour Classic showed his current capacity in the long ascents. The Dane doesn’t have the team to make the race hard, but it will be his personal power that will matter in the final ascent.
Daniel Martínez & Geraint Thomas – INEOS lost Adam Yates who was expected to ride strong here, specially as he loves the heat. Geraint Thomas should now be the team leader, however a risky bet for the race win. On paper Daniel Martinez would be able to fight for this win but the opening day showed a crack in his armour, and INEOS are currently in a complicated position. Tom Pidcock isn’t too far in the GC, and on his best day I wouldn’t be surprised in any way to see him with the best.
The fight for the win should be in the riders above but Alexey Lutsenko is also a strong card to play. The Kazakh has struggled a bit this season with injuries, but seems to be back in form and will be a rider that enjoys the heat and the steep climbs. EF will have Rigoberto Uran as a card to play, Groupama will have Sebastien Reichenbach and perhaps Thibaut Pinot in the case of a breakaway.
Domenico Pozzovivo will also be an interesting card, as will Ion Izagirre, and with so many riders abandoning the race today some spaces may open for outsiders. However, such a day is brutal and only the best climbers will be able to ride near the front.
Inside The Bus
This morning I talk to…
#144 Nelson Oliveira – Well Nelson, I think for you the goal now is the time-trial and ideally you shouldn’t be spending more than needed in the mountains. Let’s stay conservative, in the back and ride relaxed.
#192 Chad Haga – There’s total freedom Chad, we won’t be having a leader but also no real ambitions so we can go for a breakaway if you have the legs, for exposure, but no need to dig deep into the reserves.
#15 Bob Jungels – Let’s give it a shot Bob! GC isn’t that high but it will be a nice test for the Tour, and the guys will try to support you as best as possible.
⭐ Evenepoel, Martínez, Uran, Pozzovivo, Pinot, I.Izagirre, Lutsenko
I’ll go with Jakob Fuglsang for the win, he’s been showing a lot of form and confidence, and I think in these circumstances he will be able to ride a very strong climb.
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