By David Hunter
Sitaard Geleen 20.9km TTT
The powerhouses are all here. Expect some vey fast times.
With the World Championships just a few weeks ago, this represents a wonderful chance for teams to get some last minute practice for the big event in Qatar.
BMC – the reigning TTT champions, arrive with a frightening line up. Only Silvan Dillier is missing from their squad that won in America. Dennis, Oss and Quinziato were also part of their 2014 winning squad. Four of their current team managed to finish in the top 20 of the ITT, back on Tuesday. BMC will be disappointed with any other result, apart from the win.
Etixx – 2nd place in the 2015 worlds and always one of the best TTT squads. The absence of Boonen will be huge for them, leaving them a man short. The rest of the squad are very strong, but they really need a full squad to challenge BMC.
Orica – already missing Hayman, both Matthews and Ewan crashed today. That is disastrous for them and ruins any chance of winning this stage.
Sky – now missing Kiryienka, they also start one man down. They won the TTT in the Vuelta, but a win here would be a big surprise.
Tinkoff – full of big strong boys and the best in the world! Remember they were going well in America, but crashed hard. They need to put in a big performance, to keep Sagan close to Dennis in the overall standings. I think they’ll go top 5.
Movistar – they have a lot of quality with them. They were 3rd in America, with Dowsett, Sutterlin and Ion Izagirre in their 6 man squad. Like all the other teams, they need to stay as close to BMC as possible. They should be threatening the podium.
IAM – should be the surprise of the stage. They have some horsepower in their squad, plus Oliver Naesen, a rider in exceptional form. Do not be surprised to see them beat some of the traditional TTT squads.
Lotto Jumbo – on home soil and bound to put in a huge ride. Van Emden, Kelderman and Roglic finished in the top 6 of the ITT, a magnificent sign of what they could achieve here. They look capable of putting a serious charge together and could push BMC very close.
Sunny and a consistent wind.
I think it’s BMC v Jumbo and I don’t say that very often! Despite the strength of the Dutch, I can’t see past the world champions. A win for BMC and Dennis back in the overall lead.
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