The sixth stage saw an incredible amount of drama before the start, with 30 riders missing to take to the start. On the road the peloton remained relatively calm, with the GC riders arriving at the finale with no gaps, as the breakaway fought for the stage win. Nico Denz took the win, winning a sprint beating Clement Champoussin and José Herrada in the long 17-kilometer ascent to Moosalp.
Positive: Denz taking a big and surprising win. Thomas became main favourite for overall win as he stayed with the same gap to Fuglsang, and Stefan Kung has also became a threat to the GC after loosing only 39 seconds.
Negative: Abandons aplenty due to Covid and heat crisis. Vlasov abandoned infected; Uran, Hirschi, Ulissi, Bissegger, Pidcock and Bettiol all high-profile names who tested positive this morning.
The final road stage of the race will be equally hard, and it is likely to be a day aswell decided in the final ascent. However, there will be a lot to handle beforehand, starting with the Lukmanierpass which will be featured early in the day.
The riders will go up to almost 200 meters in altitude with a 29-kilometer ascent. Over an hour of climbing with 5% average gradient, it can be the place where the breakaway will be established, summit with 125 kilometers to go.
The riders will then ride into Luxembourg with a couple of ascents in the way. With 22.5 kilometers to go St.Luzisteig (2.5K; 7.6%) which will be a warm-up to the final ascent, which will have an intermediate sprint at it’s base.
The climb is 12.5 kilometers long with 8.7% average gradient. An explosive climb at first with lots of hairpins. There will be a false-flat section with around 3 kilometers to go that transition into a more straightforward section, which will see constantly rising gradients all the way into the line at the Malbun ski station.
No relief. Wind again barely visible, but the heat will keep weighting. 25 degrees at the summit finish, I would imagine the temperatures in the valley will be bigger.
Breakaway chances: 70%
With all the DNS’s the peloton lost some leaders and a lot of firepower to chase. More riders seeking breakaway and less chances of reeling it back in. A rough day with so much climbing early on will not be easy to control.
Jakob Fuglsang – He’s looked good today, but despite having the yellow jersey he will be departing with the pressure to attack Thomas as the gap is far from enough to take into the time-trial.
Sergio Higuita – Looked sharp today and will be a strong contender for the stage win now that Aleksandr Vlasov is out of the race. BORA are now on the backfoot, but the presence of Max Schachmann and Felix Grossschartner will give them possibilities of attacking the race.
Geraint Thomas – INEOS are back in a favourable position. All three of these teams are down to five riders, and INEOS only have to control the race. With Daniel Martinez in support, Thomas just needs to have the legs to keep everything under control.
Some riders won’t be given a leash, but will certainly be contenders for the stage win in the possibility that the GC riders will be fighting for it. Domenico Pozzovivo looked to be at a high level today and may have some more freedom then the Top3 riders. Neilson Powless and Bob Jungels also rode at a high level today but it’s a far reach to see them win. Despite the struggles in the final kilometers, it would be more likely to see the likes of Remco Evenepoel or Max Schachmann having a good day and taking the win.
A breakaway is probably the best scenario though. Alexey Lutsenko, Thibaut Pinot, Ion Izagirre, Rémy Rochas, Georg Zimmerman, Antonio Pedrero and Ilan van Wilder are the main contenders in my opinion for a win of such kind. However with the heat, fatigue and likelihood of more DNS’ from Covid, this can be wildly unpredictable.
Inside The Bus
This morning I talk to…
#137 Brent van Moer – Save the legs, it’s a hard day and there’s no point in burning yourself for something that’s almost impossible. In the TT you may be able to do a good result, and the goal will be to survive.
#202 Mathieu Burgaudeau – Let’s try and get in front. It’s a rough day for you but who knows, the weather can play games with you all. Stay covered until the first climb of the day, in the first slopes is where you should make a move, and from there on try and collaborate with the group well enough to have as much energy as possible into the final climb.
#112 Patrick Bevin – Protecting Jakob is the priority. We don’t have to work hard, he’ll need to have the legs in the final climb but until there you will be in front of the guys. The form isn’t good so your job is to make sure all the guys are safe, but we’re down to five so you need to do the work of several.
⭐⭐G.Thomas, Fuglsang, Higuita, I.Izagirre, Lutsenko
⭐Schachmann, Grossschartner, Pozzovivo, Evenepoel, Rochas, Pedrero, van Wilder
I think there will be many riders not starting tomorrow as the Covid outbreak expands. I hope to be wrong though. I think again the peloton will be incapable of fighting against a breakaway at this point of the race, and Thibaut Pinot will win from an escapee group.
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