By David Hunter
Banyoles > Banyoles 18.6km ITT
This stage is a little harder than the profile suggests.
Most of the opening 6km is uphill, the main climb is 3km at 3.7%. Once that has been dealt with it’s about settling into a nice rhythm for the next 10km.
Then there is this little kicker of 500m at 6% which crests with just 1.6km to go. The 215m of climbing during the stage will certainly help the climbers limit their losses, but this should still be a day for the TT specialists.
A beautiful day in Catalunya, I’m getting jealous. The wind isn’t much and it’s to get slightly stronger as the day goes on. It comes from the south-east which means a lot of tailwind for the riders, with a headwind in the final 3km.
Rohan Dennis – 6th in the recent Paris-Nice was an okay result considering he didn’t spend a lot of time on his TT bike over the winter. With a growing focus on becoming a deluxe climbing domestique, it’s only natural that his TT performance will suffer a bit. The climbing in this TT is good news for him, it should allow him to challenge for the win.
Remi Cavagna – was so close to winning in Paris-Nice, but lost out by under a second. No doubt he’ll be using that as extra motivation for this stage, he’ll see this as a huge chance to win his first ever stage race TT. Cavagna is now 25, and I think we’ve already seen he’s progressed well over the winter. The time is right for him to start winning consistently, he has the talent and power required.
Thomas De Gendt – neither of his TTs this season have been at his usual level, but this one does suit him better. The length is good for him, so are the hills. Given his record in recent grand tours, he has every chance of taking the win.
Brandon McNulty – another rider who impressed in the Paris-Nice TT, the American finished in 4th place. He had to abandon the race during stage 6 due to a crash, his result will clearly depend on how well he’s recovered. If he’s 100%, he’ll be challenging for the win.
Geraint Thomas – 11th in the Tirreno TT was a good result, a step in the right direction. This longer effort should suit him more, given his pedigree he should really be up in the top 5.
Richie Porte – crashed out of Paris-Nice during the opening stage. What I said about McNulty is true for Porte, his recovery will determine how he goes.
Chad Haga – a rider who normally saves his best TT performances for grand tours. He certainly has the quality to challenge for the win, but will he?
João Almeida – 7th in the Tirreno TT was a very good result, the Portuguese rider is very strong on his TT bike. He also finished 6th in the UAE TT so he’s clearly going well this season. I think he’s a strong contender for the podium.
Josef Černy – I’m really looking forward to seeing his first TT as a DQT rider. The big Czech rider looked good in Nokere Koerse and the Bredene Koksijde Classic, races that didn’t really suit him. He’s always been a very good TT rider, will the move help to turn him into one of the best?
Hugh Carthy – he’ll sense a chance to put some time into his GC rivals. He was a brilliant 4th in the Vuelta TT, matching Roglič for the vast majority of the stage. He can often be underestimated as a TT rider, but he is strong in this discipline. This is a big chance for him to put a marker down for the rest of the race.
Steven Kruijswijk – 11th in the Paris-Nice TT was a good result, his new Cervélo looks fast. Just like Hugh, this is a chance to put some time into his GC rivals, particularly both Yates twins and Carapaz.
Dennis & Cavagna with a side of McNulty! I’ll take Remi Cavagna, he’s due one.
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