The final week’s racing resumes with a stage suited to the sprinters, the last flat stage of the race. Just one problem: there are not many sprinters left in the race. It’s not that riders can’t rush for the line but with few teams capable and willing to chase down a breakaway the certainty of a sprint is reduced.
The Route: 190km along the Galician coastline. Ortiguera to A Coruña is only 90km the route is a Mandelbrotian 190km. It’s not flat but there are no categorised climbs and little trouble even the heaviest or most tired of riders.
The Finish: ¡Vamos a la playa! Today’s stage finishes next to the beach on a sweeping road around the bend. It comes after a loop around town. The final two kilometres are flat after a series of roundabouts and urban street furniture.
The Scenario: a good day for the peloton to ease back in to racing after the rest day. A sprint finish seems most likely but note several sprinters have gone home and consequently fewer teams will be willing to chase, thus boosting the chances of a move sticking. Crosswinds are possible but the forecast – see below – looks moderate.
The Contenders: John Degenkolb versus the rest? Now Nacer Bouhanni’s gone home the German is the strongest rider in the race and he’s taken three stages so far. But there are others capable of challenging, including Astana’s Andrea Guardini whose biggest win remains beating Mark Cavendish in the third week of the Giro. Michael Matthews, Roberto Ferrari, Jens Debusschere and Yauheni Hutarovich could be there too.
Otherwise take your pick from a breakaway contenders whether the talented, the in-form or the desperate without a contract. Also with the worlds approaching what about a late flyer from the likes of Philippe Gilbert or Fabian Cancellara although I suspect they might try later in the week.
|Michael Matthews, Roberto Ferrari|
|Debusschere, Hutarovich, Martinez, Ciolek, Boonen, Gilbert, Cancellara|
TV: As usual the finish is expected for 5.40pm Euro time. Tune in early for the scenery and coastline and to check what’s happening but the action is probably reserved for late.
Daily Díaz: Km 171,9 of the stage and an intermediate sprint in Arteixo, a small city near A Coruña. What is so special about Arteixo? The headquarters of Inditex (multinational clothing company, the biggest fashion group in the world) are here. This group was founded by Amancio Ortega, Spain’s richest man, and has stores all over the world (so to speak). Check your wardrobe and you will probably find at least a couple of Inditex pieces (usually made in some developing country). The prices vary significantly around the world: a shirt can be afforded by most people in France, but be a luxury good in China (despite most likely being made there). There is a global Big Mac Index to measure power purchasing parity (PPP), why not a Zara t-shirt Index?
Thanks to cycling podcaster and history teacher Manuel Pérez Díaz for the local information. You can follow him on Twitter as perezdiazmanuel