By David Hunter
Stage 4 Recap
We got the expected sprint as the sprint teams, eventually started to work well together. Ferrari opened up the sprint a touch too early, leaving Modolo to jump across to the wheel of Arndt. The Italian launched his sprint and all looked good, but he ran out of steam with 50 metres remaining. It looked like Guarnieri of Astana was going to win, but Jonas Vangenechten, timed his sprint to perfection. The Lotto rider collected his first win of the season.
Stage 5 Zakopane – Strbske Pleso 190km
The race heads to Slovakia.
This stage will see the first shake-up of the overall classification, thanks to the mountaintop finish. Again, we have a circuit to finish the stage, with the riders tackling the climb on three occasions.
The climb isn’t particularly hard, around 7km between 4.5% and 4.8%. Considering the field of climbers we have, I would be amazed to see any of them distanced on the climb.
The circuit the riders go on, is slightly different for the last climb.
The last kilometre only averages 5.1%, but with 200 metres remaining we have a 16% ramp. This is where the stage will be settled.
Due to the nature of the opening 4 stages, the GC contenders are mostly sitting on the same time. This climb isn’t hard enough to create big gaps, but the time bonus could be crucial. This means Tinkoff-Saxo will try to control the stage for Majka, but is the finish suited to him?
The main challengers for the stage will be: Majka, Weening, Poels, Cataldo, Henao, Niemiec, Sanchez, Arredondo, Caruso, Formolo, Izagirre, Amador, Gesink, Riblon and Geniez. Out of these, only Arredondo is way out of the GC picture, thanks to crashing 4 times, on stage 1! He can go in the morning break and hope to stay away, or wait with the GC riders. Either way, he has to be a big favourite for the stage.
Having a fast finish, is essential for this stage. Certainly, Sanchez, Gesink, Formolo and Geniez fall into that category.
What about Movistar and their abundance of talent? They have Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Amador, Capecchi and Intxausti. All of these riders are capable of winning, with Capecchi having the best sprint.
It would be wrong not to mention that young French talent, Warren Barguil. Such a great, attacking rider, who has every chance of taking the stage.
So far, I’ve named just about every rider in the race as having a chance! The easy nature of the final climb, does open the race up to many riders. Movistar should have a very good chance of success as they have the best team and multiple options.
Possibly the best climber and down on GC, means it’s Arredondo for me.
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