By David Hunter
Stage 5 Recap
What a day for Diego Ulissi! My pick didn’t let us down and delivered a quite brilliant victory. We had a few crashes, but all the main GC riders were okay. In the final kilometre Katusha pulled Rodriguez to the front, with EBH and Arredondo. This created a small gap in the peloton, but Ulissi made Matthews do the work of closing the gap down. With 200 metres remaining Ulissi attacked on the left, with Evans going on the right. It was the Italian that had the speed and he claimed the victory, Evans was 2nd and Arrendondo 3rd.
Pink – Matthews, Red – Viviani, Blue – Tjallingii, White – Matthews
Stage 6 Sassano – Montecassino 257km
Firstly, the stage has been increased by 10km, due to a road closure.
It’s another boring looking stage profile.
A little cat 4 bump, after 100km, an intermediate sprint and then the climb to finish the stage. Stage 5 included the ridiculous site of Viviani, Swift, Farrar and more going in the break. It is far too early to be wasting a lot of energy to claim 10, 6 and 4 points. It seemed a touch desperate to me and Bouhanni was probably laughing at the move.
The climb is 8.5km at an average of 5%, with a 9% maximum. The length of the climb means that the tough sprinters won’t make it. The climb isn’t the hardest and I seriously doubt that any of the GC riders will lose time, so it’s all about the finish. The last 700 metres flattens out to just 2/3%, so it’s not the same type of finish as stage 5.
Knowledge of the finish is important, as the inside line round the final corner will be the winning move to make. Will we get a sprint between the climbers?
The work of Katusha ensured that we had a sprint today, but this finish isn’t great for Rodriguez, so I don’t think they’ll do all the work again. Lampre-Merida will find themselves with a lot of work to do, as Ulissi is a worthy favourite. He has a great chance of a repeat performance, but tactics might see a lone rider escape, especially if they’re not a threat on GC.
If we get a sprint, then the fastest sprinters are: Ulissi, Matthews, Evans, EBH, Moreno, Battaglin, Colbrelli and Felline.
The focus has to be on Michael Matthews. If he can cope with the climb, he is the quickest of these riders in a sprint. If he’s going to do it, he needs support from his team. They had to do a lot of work today and couldn’t help him at the end of the stage. They will hope for a slightly easier ride in this stage, especially if they can get some help from other teams.
I don’t think a break will make it as the profile is too easy and too many riders will fancy winning this stage.
I was very impressed with the ride of Edvald Boasson Hagen today. He was right at the front of the race, in the last few metres, but faded on the 8% section. This stage is better for him! He should make it to the end and challenge the sprint. Even if Matthews is there, I fancy the Norwegian to take this out.
Related: Giro 2014 general preview:https://bicis.frangandara.net/giro-ditalia-2014-general-preview/
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