A time trial to shape the overall and see riders like Michał Kwiatkowski, Bob Jungels and Wilco Kelderman put time into Romain Bardet, Nairo Quintana and George Bennett.
Magnus opus: a break of 13 riders formed and the hilly finale thinned this down to four riders with breakaway nobility Alessando De Marchi and Thomas de Gendt, plus Giulio Ciccone and Magnus Cort Nielsen. The latter is known as sprinter although he’s more complete. Still, the question was how the other three could get rid of him. They didn’t find the answer and with 700m MCN flipped the question round, got rid of them, and won solo.
The Route: a 25.5km time trial and it’s flat for 13km – the course runs alongside a canal – and then comes a right-hand bend and a climb to the Frigolet abbey, it’s 2km at 3-4% most of the way. The map doesn’t show it but there are two hairpins just before the top of the climb where the road is steeper. Then the road drops back down towards the Rhone river and picks up a big road for the finish into Barbentane before a steep kick up to the line. In summary it’s a course for fast, powerful riders, even the climb can be ridden in a tuck for the most part and if it’s not tricky, there are technical choices to get shelter from the wind.
The Contenders: race leader Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is in form and the course suits him, this is his stage to intimidate the climbs who are still within touching distance of him on the GC.
Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quickstep) has a course to suit and with the Col de Turini approaching this is his chance to stake a claim on the GC and if not go home with a stage win. L-L Sanchez (Astana) could be close but it’s probably not twisty and technical enough for him but he should be close.
Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) can win today, he’s not a superstar but is a TT specialist. Ilnur Zakarin hasn’t put a foot wrong so far but he hasn’t won a TT in his career either, still this is a big test for him.
Away from the GC contenders and Hugo Houle is Canadian but lives near and the Astana rider is a useful TT rider but it’s hard to see him taking a win in the World Tour while team mate on Ion Izagirre could salvage something after the crosswinds. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) won the TT in Valenciana over a month ago but he’s so enigmatic that that might be it for the season. Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) could pop up too.
|Ion Izagirre, Bob Jungels, Wilco Kelderman|
|Sanchez, van Garderen, Houle|
Weather: sunshine and a few clouds, and 16°C but the bad weather hasn’t quite gone, the northwesterly wind could get up this afternoon.
TV: The last rider Kwiatkowski comes in at 4.30pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport. If not then cyclingfans and steephill.tv have schedules and streams.