By David Hunter
Rheinfelden – Champagne 193km
I will refrain some a silly joke about champagne!
This is the last day for the sprinters, after this stage, we head to the mountains.
For the Tour of Switzerland, this is a very flat stage, it only has 1912m of climbing. We do have a cat 2 climb, but it comes very early in the stage and won’t have a major impact on the stage. It is 8km at 4.4%. After the descent a long flat section follows, before the final challenge of the day.
The cat 3 climb with 10km remaining is 1.7km at 4.4%, nothing compared to the climbs today.
Again, the finish is relatively straightforward. There is a rise in the road as we approach 2km remaining, but it’s nothing that will slow down the sprinters. This is a fast and furious finish.
This is a very easy stage to control. Anything else other than a sprint finish would be a huge surprise.
Only Orica have a recognised sprint train. With Juul Jensen, Hayman, Albasini and Cort they have a train that is the best in the race. They will take to the front with 4km remaining and boss the finale. Tinkoff and Etixx will be happy to let them do this, as they don’t have the same firepower. Etixx have Richeze to help Gaviria. Sagan needs no one!
Orica will have to think carefully about how they set-up the sprint, as Matthews is slower than his rivals. I’ve got to be honest, I have no idea how they go about winning this stage.
Peter Sagan – two consecutive wins and he’ll want to make it three. Starts the stage as the big favourite.
Fernando Gaviria – the only rider capable of beating Sagan. He took it easy today, so hopefully he has recovered for this stage. He does have a massively in-form Richeze to help. If the Argentine delivers the perfect lead out, it will be very hard for anyone to beat the Colombian. If Gaviria is not fit, Richeze has already shown that he has the speed to finish on the podium.
Michael Matthews – he needs more speed! The lead out is good but he’s just not fast enough compared to Sagan. I wonder if Orica will employ some of the sprinting dark arts in their quest for a win.
Another rainy day and I thought we had bad weather in Scotland!
Keep An Eye On
Kevin Reza – seems to have the full backing of FDJ and even has a lead out man in Cedric Pineau. A favourite of most fans, hopefully Reza can shine in the rain.
Given the bad weather and a huge amount of pressure on Tinkoff, the chances are slightly better than in stages that usually look like this. I would look towards Swiss riders like Zaugg and Rast.
Sagan x 3!
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