Peter Sagan probably didn’t read the road book for Stage 4 as he was caught up in the middle of the peloton heading into the last corner. He tried to make up for it but he went the wrong way around and almost crashed against the barrier. He still managed to finish 7th on the stage and I think he is eager for revenge.
Stage 5 ends with two loops on a 26.5 km long circuit. Each loop includes two categorized climbs, both with an average gradient of aprox. 5 %. The climbs are short and they probably won’t make a big selection in the peloton. Still, they will make life hard for the pure sprinters. Jens Voigt almost managed to keep the peloton at bay on Stage 4 and if a group of strong riders gets away on the final loop, it could make things very interesting.
I think this will end in a sprint and contrary to the finish of Stage 4, there aren’t any tricky corners towards the this time. The road book shows a couple of turns in the final three kilometer but it’s really more the road bending a bit than an actual corner. The last 500 meters kick up with 4 % towards the line but after 2.5 km straight out, I don’t think the incline favors Peter Sagan more than anybody else. The five climbs in the last
66 km favor Sagan but a power sprint like this is more in John Degenkolb’s wheelhouse. The German sprinter came to Tour de Suisse after a training camp in Sierra Nevada so he shouldn’t have problems with these category 4 climbs. Degenkolb wasn’t sure how his sprinting legs would respond after training in the mountains but with a 4th place in a finish that didn’t suit him, I see him as one of the big favorites for the win in Leuggern.
Alexander Kristoff is another rider this type of finish is good for. The big Norwegian is getting better every season and he’s now hoping to shine in the Tour this summer. Kristoff won three stages in Tour of Norway last month and he also won the peloton’s sprint in GP Gippingen last week. Kristoff now knows some of the climbs and that will definitely help him in the final. In the Tour de France, Kristoff will be left alone to do the sprinting and he doesn’t have a lot of help in Tour de Suisse either. This is a good opportunity for him to show the team that he can cope with the pressure and win on his own.
Looking for a joker, I think we should look to breakaway candidates. Phillipe Gilbert is still gunning for his first victory in the Rainbow Jersey. The most important task for BMC right now is to keep Mathias Frank in yellow but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gilbert was given a free role. He tried a couple of times in Belgium Tour a few weeks ago and again on Stage 2 of this race. Gilbert is one of the best riders on these type of climbs and he’s very fast on the line too. I still doubt a breakaway will succeed but if any rider can make it on a route like this one, it’s Phillipe Gilbert.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite between Sagan, Degenkolb and Kristoff but if I had to pick one, it would be Sagan. Simply because it’s difficult to image him missing out two days in a row.
Favorite: Peter Sagan
Joker: Phillipe Gilbert
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Preview by C-Cycling. Thanks to Mikkel Condé for these informative previews, I’ve supplied him with Dauphiné previews all week and now I’m drafting his Swiss analysis in return. Remember you can follow Mikel on Twitter as @mrconde.