A flat stage on Ascension Day, today could be a sprint finish and a decider for the points jersey… but which teams are left to set up a sprint?
Supernans: A maxi-breakaway of 18 riders but still some teams missed it, surprising given the lack of opportunities left. Various riders tried moves but it was on the final climb that Nans Peters burst out of the group. Perhaps the others saw his big build and hesitated, either way it was a mistake to let him go. He’s a strong rider, longtime a stalwart of the French U-23 team but without a win… until now.
Behind Mikel Landa surged clear to take a few seconds out of Primož Roglič and Vincenzo Nibali as part of his bid to get on the podium and had Hugh Carthy on his wheel, the man from Lankyshire is proving adept at matching the biggest of attacks. Landa is still fourth on GC and now 47 seconds behind Roglič, but even if the Slovenian is slowing, Landa will need to take more time in the coming day. Nibali also had a scare, losing a few seconds in the final when Lopez and Carapaz clipped clear. Short of an energy gel or is he also beginning to fade?
The Route: 222km out of the Alps for a flat finish in the Veneto.
The Finish: fast and flat, just two bends in the final 5km before a finishing straight that’s 1.6km long.
The Contenders: Arnaud Démare and Pascal Ackermann are the two obvious picks. There’s just 13 points between them and points go down to the 15th place on the stage with 50-35-25-18-14 for the first five. This means Démare can’t keep the points jersey just by sitting on Ackermann’s wheel, both have to win today’s stage to settle the ciclamino jersey. But there’s another option, if a big breakaway goes then it can mop up the points and the status quo prevails so Groupama-FDJ don’t have to chase. It could happen as plenty of riders will see today as their last chance and Bora-Hansgrohe are the only team with a firm interest in chasing.
If it’s a sprint still there’s a chance that the two riders mark each other to the point of getting in the way and a third rider comes through. But who? Giacomo Nizzolo has won the points jersey in the Giro after others have gone home.. only he’s gone home, leaving Dimension Data relying on Ryan Gibbons. Jakub Mareczko and Matteo Moschetti are also out. Manuel Belletti (Androni-Sidermec) and Davide Cimolai (Israel Academy) are the sprinters. But the lack of sprinters could tempt others into the mix like Spanish veterans J-J Rojas (Movistar), J-J Lobato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Francisco Ventoso (CCC). Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) and Simone Consonni (UAE Emirates) often work as lead out riders but could have a go too. But it’s hard to see any of these riders worrying Démare and Ackermann in a straight spint, no?
|Pascal Ackermann, Arnaud Démare|
|Vendrame, Consonni, Belletti, Haller|
Weather: cloudy and the risk of rain, a top temperature of 21°C later on in the plains.
TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time.