A lot of red in the profile above but this is a chance for the sprinters ahead of a mountainous weekend and if you get a sense of a déjà vu it’s normal as the route was used in 2013.
Stage 6 Wrap: several breakaway attempts but BMC kept the breakaway under control before Orica-BikeExchange helped take over in the final along with Movistar. With the remnants of the breakaway beginning the final climb with a chance Simon Yates jumped out of the bunch, overhauled breakaway rider Mathias Frank and took the stage win, his second since returning from the anti-doping suspension. That suspension came up in the post-stage press conference and you wonder how much what appears to have been an administrative mistake will cost him in terms of reputation and by extension earnings.
The Route: a clone of Stage 5 of the 2013 Vuelta. The race heads out to the vineyards. The first climb of the day is the Alto do Covelo, long at 10.9km but a gentle 4%. There’s more climbing along the way before the Alto do Padornello, 11 km at just 2.6%. Despite the soft gradients there’s still about 2,500m of vertical gain.
The Finish: the only difference to 2013 is the finish in Puebla de Sanabria when it at the Lago de Sanabria last time, in the town today and by the lake the last time. They come downhill into town on a bending road, pass under the 1km to go banner, cross the river and then the road kinks through two corners before an uphill finish that’s more pronounced than the profile shows. Nothing steep but certainly no dragstrip finish.
The Contenders: Gianni Meersman again? He’s got the legs and the team and this finish with its curves and the uphill run to the line is made for him. Fabio Felline has had two good days so all the more reason for Trek-Segafredo team mate Niccolò Bonifazio to take over in the sprint. Otherwise Lotto-Soudal’s Tosh Van Der Sande, Orica’s Magnus Cort Nielsen, Dimension Data’s Nathan Haas and BMC’s Jempy Drucker get tipped. A break could stick but today is one of the rare chances for the sprinters so they and their teams have every interest in trying to control things.
|Niccolò Bonifazio, J-P Drucker
|Nielsen, Haas, Gilbert, Van Der Sande
Weather: 28°C and the chance of a thunderstorm.