By David Hunter
Boën Sur Lignon – Voiron 201km
Last chance for the sprinters.
A rather boring day in the saddle, but with an interesting looking finish.
The final 15km doesn’t look very easy. We have lots of narrow roads, some fast descents, a couple of little kickers, lots of street furniture, roundabouts and a final corner with just 300m to go. This could be carnage.
The roundabout with 2km to go is very interesting, as both lanes are open. There isn’t much in it, but the left-hand side looks the shorter route round. With 1.4km to go, we have a massive narrowing of the road, as the riders head round the right of a roundabout, before immediately going all the way round the next roundabout and hitting the flamme rouge.
The final kilometre contains two tight corners, both of which must be taken at speed, before the finishing straight of just 300m. Not shown on the profile is some little 3% ramps, which will make moving up the bunch very difficult indeed.
Unlike on Tuesday, this is a day where you need to hit the front early. The technical nature of the finale means few riders will be able to move up the bunch, it’s all about getting a good early position and trying to hold it.
Sunny, with the wind coming from the south. It could gust to 20mph, but I don’t see it being strong enough to split the race.
Sam Bennett – took a comfortable win on Tuesday, he was miles faster than the rest. Bora have a strong lead out train to support their sprinter, Archbold did an incredible lead out for him that day. Moving into this stage, they’ll look to try and dominate the final 5km, trying to secure a good position for Bennett. Given his current speed, he doesn’t have to have ideal position to win, just be around the front for the final corner.
Álvaro Hodeg – his sprint train misfired on Tuesday, leaving him lost in the bunch. Without recognised sprint men to help, it will be hard for the Colombian to compete, but QuickStep need to forget about controlling the closing stages. They should stay near the front, in a small unit, and try to rush to the front in the final kilometre. In reality, Hodeg is the only sprinter with the speed to push Bennett for the win.
Edward Theuns – was great to see him taking a good position on Tuesday, but he didn’t have the sprinting legs to compete. One problem for Eddie is that the last time he was the designated sprinter was in the 2018 Tour of Turkey, the time before that was the 2017 Tour of Turkey! Given how fast he can be, that is a pretty remarkable statistic. He will enjoy the technical finish, and the little uphill kickers, hopefully he finds some of his old sprinting speed.
Clément Venturini – the little AG2R fast man has clocked up some impressive results in 2019, but is yet to win. He’ll be guided into position by Oli Naesen, a great man to have in front of you. He lacks the speed of a pure sprinter, but he should be able to improve on his 4th place from the other day. To win, he’ll need others to make mistakes.
Davide Ballerini – the Italian is a jack of all trades. Still just 24, I wonder when he’ll focus on one particular discipline, I think he needs to if he wants to turn into a winner. Astana have a strong team, he’ll have Lutsenko and Cort to position him in the closing kilometres, but it would be a huge surprise to see him win.
Luca Mezgec – the Slovenian’s chances will be hampered by his team having the race lead. Mitchelton have six men to support Adam Yates, but they need to save their mountain guys for a busy weekend. In theory, that just leaves a couple of men to work on the front during the stage. Mezgec won’t have much support in the closing stages, making it tough for him to challenge.
Wout Van Aert – what a TT! After finishing 2nd in Tuesday’s sprint, he’ll be confident of challenging for another win. It seems he can do everything and his recent block at altitude has been a huge success.
Julian Alaphilippe – the final 3km is great for a late attack. QuickStep have a couple of options for this, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them give it a go.
The technical finish is great news for Bora, it should be another win for Sam Bennett.
Remember I’ve now got a podcast too. Go and give it a listen
Follow us on @CiclismoInter
Join us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional
Copyright © 2012-2019 Ciclismo Internacional. All Rights Reserved