By David Hunter
It looks nice and flat in this profile, but look at the Veloviewer one below and you’ll see plenty of bumps along the way.
The route is perfect for the powerhouses of the peloton, especially with the long straight sections of road.
There will be heavy rain in the morning, but conditions are to improve throughout the day. The current forecast predicts that all of the riders will get rain and wet roads, which will make life very difficult for everyone.
Rohan Dennis – what a huge ride today. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen him challenging in a stage race, and climbing so well. He starts the day 41 seconds down on Bernal, he’ll be aiming for the stage win and the yellow jersey. After going deep in the last two stages, we’ll have to see how much energy he has left for the chrono, but he will start as the man to beat.
Maciej Bodnar – was just beaten in the opening TT and he’ll be hoping to beat Dennis this time round. The Pole is a fine rider, but doesn’t win very often. He was impressive in the recent Hammer Series event and has obviously managed to hold that form. This is a good route for him, and he’ll hope that Dennis has used up some energy fighting for the GC.
Stefan Küng – was bitterly disappointed with his opening TT, but this one should suit him a little better. You couldn’t say that he’s struggled this season, but it’s certainly not been up to his usual high standard. It was always going to be hard moving away from BMC, a team that prided itself on TT performance, to a team whose focus isn’t as sharp. Now lacking a little confidence, I wonder if he can deliver a big performance to kick start his year.
Paddy Bevin – still waiting for the big TT win. The Kiwi is a brilliant rider, but he’s in the same boat as Küng in terms of moving away from BMC to a team that isn’t as TT focused. He was 4th in the final Romandie TT, a result that should give him confidence heading into this stage. Can he pull out a big result?
Lawson Craddock – this year has seen the American turn into a hugely consistent performer on his TT bike, with 7th place in Paris-Nice, 13th in Itzulia and 6th in the opening stage of this race. EF are now riding a much better TT bike and you can see the results in just about every TT they’ve competed in. Winning will be very difficult, but don’t be surprised to see him competing for the podium.
Michael Matthews – 3rd in the opening TT was a fantastic result, his best ever in a TT (prologues not included). Much of his recent training has been focused on climbing and TT performance, which means he should be challenging in this stage. The Aussie has a massive engine and it will be good to see him go toe-to-toe with the specialists. He would prefer a route with a few more corners, but I still expect him to challenge.
Søren Kragh Andersen – another rider who’s season simply hasn’t been good enough. The Dane was brilliant in 2018, I expected much more of him in 2019. No wins to date and very few performances to speak of, he needs to step it up.
Kasper Asgreen – didn’t get involved in the GC battle, I expect a big performance from him in this TT. The young Dane has enjoyed a sensational season, earning himself a lot of new fans and respect from his teammates. I think we’ll see him challenging for the top 5.
The rain will make it a hard day for all riders. As he needs to go full gas to gain as much time as he can on Bernal, I think this will be another day for Rohan Dennis, winning the stage and yellow jersey.
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