By David Hunter
Susa – Cervina 214km
A stage back loaded with hills. This should be lots of fun!
Expect a huge fight to join the morning break. With 130km of flat, it really does suit the power men of the bunch, but strange things can happen! Once we hit 130km, the mountains begin and we have zero kilometres of flat. This is perfect for those that want to attack from distance.
The opening climb is 16km at 7.7%, which includes a 3km stretch at over 10%. This is no easy climb! After a 23km descent, the peloton go straight into the next climb.
Another long climb, this time we have 16.5km at 7.2%. The opening 8km of the climb is very difficult, it then becomes easier, before a demanding finish. Once over the top, there is only 10km of descent.
The final climb of the day is the easiest, but fatigue will play a large part. We have 19m at 5%, with the main difficulty being an 8km stretch, starting with 11km remaining. The final 6km includes two tunnels.
Another day with a risk of thunderstorms.
Today was incredible. Team Sky destroyed the peloton and Froome took a huge risk, but it paid off. He now sits with a comfortable lead and it looks impossible for anyone to beat him. Dumoulin sits 40s behind Froome, but his team don’t seem capable of holding the race together, I think it looks like a good day for the break.
Behind them, Sky will control the GC group and ensure the pace is fast enough to stop anyone from attacking.
Ben Hermans – has been active in a number of stages, but not really threatened. The start is good news for the Belgian, he can use his big engine to make the move. His big goal was to take a stage win, he has one more chance left.
Luis Leon Sanchez – one of the strongest riders in the race, but his breaks just haven’t stuck. We have seen him get very frustrated with this, giving the chasing bunch a one finger salute, when he was about to get closed down for the 100th time! It would be a real shame if he didn’t manage to take a stage win, he deserves something for all his hard work.
Giulio Ciccone – is he cooked? He’s been impressive, but Mitchelton-Scott have been happy to chase down his breaks. Winning a stage would be huge for Bardiani, but Ciccone could find it hard to make the morning move.
Jack Haig – now that Yates has blown, we should see freedom given to their riders. Haig has looked in good form throughout the race, it would be good to see him up the road. He took his first pro win in 2017, winning a stage of the Tour of Poland, is this a chance to take his first grand tour win?
Diego Ulissi – hasn’t been a good race for him. The Italian will be very disappointed, but he still has a chance to take a win.
Gianluca Brambilla – in the same boat as Ulissi.
Alessandro De Marchi – I’ve enjoyed watching him animate many stages, but without success. De Marchi is a tremendous breakaway rider and he is excellent at sniffing out the right moves. The Italian only has 3 career wins, but he only wins big races! He has two wins in the Vuelta and one in the Dauphine. It would be great to see him win on home roads.
Hugh Carthy – it’s been a good race for the young Englishman, but also frustrating. He is learning the art of the breakaway and this stage is a good one for him. EF Drapac have not enjoyed a great race, they’ll expect to make the break.
Chris Froome – if the break doesn’t win, Froome will.
Given his form over the last three weeks, I have to go with Luis Leon Sanchez. I don’t think they’ll be any surprises back in the GC group, with Chris Froome taking the pink jersey and Miguel Angel Lopez winning white.
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