By David Hunter
Delémont – Yverdon les Bains 174km
Time for the sprinters to shine.
Despite the presence of a cat 2 climb, this is one the sprinters should be able to cope with.
The climb is officially 5.7km at 6%, but as you can see, it does rise leading into the climb. The main difficulty is 2km at 7.7%, but that shouldn’t be an issue for any leading cyclist. Once we come off the descent, the riders have to tackle a tricky looking circuit.
There are three short climbs in the last 40km, which will be attacked. The gradients aren’t too hard, which is good news for the sprinters. The last climb crests with around 15km remaining, that’s enough time to organise a chase. There will be attacks, but it’s unlikely they succeed.
Looking nice. We have some sunshine, it’s not too hot and only a little wind. Perfect conditions for the bunch.
Elia Viviani – after a brilliant opening to his season, the Italian enjoyed a little rest after DDV. He is here to get racing in his legs before the Giro and a confidence boosting win will be high on his agenda. He arrives with a strong sprint train, especially the presence of Mørkøv and Sabatini. The climbs shouldn’t trouble the Italian and he has to start as the big favourite.
Pascal Ackermann – the young German has been close to taking a big win this season, but he’s just missed out on a number of occasions. His sprint train isn’t as strong as Viviani, but he does have Rudi Selig, a brilliant last man. If it wasn’t for the presence of Viviani, he would be confident of taking a win.
Sonny Colbrelli – unlucky today, but this stage doesn’t suit him as well. Colbrelli does have a fast sprint, but not as good as the other sprinters here. Bahrain have a team more suited to the mountains, it will be hard for them to control the final 2km.
Michael Matthews – unusually, Matthews arrives without a recognised sprint train. The pressure to chase the break won’t be on the shoulders of Sunweb, I think they’ll try and stay hidden in the bunch, until the final 5km. Winning without a recognised train will be difficult.
Timothy Dupont – he’s enjoyed a good start to life at Wanty, but he’s still searching for the win. Wanty aren’t a recognised sprint team, but they usually do a good job of positioning their main man.
The finish isn’t very technical and should be easy to control. Looking at the quality of the sprinters here, it should be an easy win for Elia Viviani.
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