By David Hunter
Champery – Bulle 161km
A rare sprint stage in Romandie!
With three categorised climbs, this is no flat day, but it is easy by Romandie standards. The last climb is 3.9km at 6.4%, but coming 50km from home, it should be taken at a steady pace.
The riders come across the line for a bonus sprint with 25km remaining, before one lap. The last 2.3km rises at 2.2%. Long enough to slow down the pure sprinters and steep enough for the puncheurs to show their power. This is an interesting finish, with a couple of big turns in the last kilometres.
Cold, cloudy and some rain. Summer weather in Romandie!
With this stage coming early in the race, teams will be fresh enough to control the morning break. This looks like one for the quicks.
Elia Viviani – the fastest rider here, but the stage is not ideal for him. We will have to see how much the climbs take out of his legs and the drag up to the line isn’t his best finish either. This will be a hard stage for him to win.
Max Richeze – when he gets a chance, he usually delivers. The Argentine can climb very well and the uphill sprint is great for him. Riding for QuickStep means they will put him into a great position, he just needs to finish it.
Michael Albasini – won today, a stage that was meant to be for the climbers! He now lines up for a sprint stage, as one of the favourites. The Swiss rider really is the man to beat when at home. The uphill sprint is ideal for him and he has a strong team to support him in the closing kilometres.
Wouter Wippert – no chance.
JJ Lobato – please, can we see the real Lobato! On paper, this is a great stage for him. He owes the team as they believe in him and I have a feeling his form is about to come good. He would actually prefer a slightly tougher finish, but this is still in his range.
Moreno Hofland – not fast enough against the sprinters here.
Sonny Colbrelli – after a brilliant start to 2017, the Italian will sense a chance to take another win. He doesn’t mind the bad weather and is full of confidence just now. Has a great chance of winning this stage.
Samuel Dumoulin – the little Frenchman hasn’t taken a win outside of France since 2011. Despite his age, 2016 one of his best seasons. He started this year with a win and will hope for a good performance in this stage. He only has two world tour wins in his career. Not a great stat!
Kevin Reza – top 5 would be a great result.
Ben Swift – another rider that has a point to prove. His season has not been ideal and he owes his team a result. This is a good stage for Swift, but has he recovered from his ankle injury? Consonni is a good alternative.
Oscar Gatto – form has been poor since his crash in E3.
Youcef Reguigui – top 10, not threatening the podium.
Dion Smith – this is a rider I like. A good climber and a fast sprinter, Wanty made a very good move when signing the 24 year old Kiwi. A couple of top 5 finishes in Catalunya was good for his confidence and he will believe that he can beat the bigger names here.
Looking at the final 2km, I think this is one for Sonny Colbrelli. His form is insane just now!
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