By David Hunter
Circuito De Navarra – Logroño 40.2km ITT
Time for a monster time trial.
Hardly any climbing and apart from a million corners at the beginning, this is a power course. Once the riders clear the start ramp and all the silly corners, they hit a long, straight road. This is perfect for those who can produce a huge amount of watts, for a long period of time.
A sunny day for the riders. We have a tailwind for all, but it does slightly strengthen for the later starters.
Chris Froome – this is the day where Chris Froome wins the Vuelta. He currently leads Nibali by 1:01 and will be looking to beat all of his GC rivals by, at least, 2 minutes. Remember back to last year and his incredible win in the Calp ITT, that day he beat Contador by 1:57. Thanks to Rohan Dennis leaving the race, Froome is now the overwhelming favourite for the stage. He’ll want the stage and a huge lead. This will allow him to ride defensively during the final week.
Bob Jungels – the QuickStep rider finished 3rd in the Giro TT and will expect something similar in Spain. A pure TT rider, he will love the look of this course. He is one of the few riders who can challenge Froome for the stage. He’s yet to take a landmark TT win, but he could go close here.
Yves Lampaert – QuickStep option number 2. Already has one stage to his name and a second would be amazing for him. He was 4th in Calp, last year, before finishing 7th in the Worlds. The Belgian is a talented TT rider and will be fresh after having a couple of “easy” days in the bunch.
Julian Alaphilippe – QuickStep option number 3. An unlikely challenger, but you just never know.
Nelson Oliveira – Movistar always go well in Spanish TTs. The Portuguese rider has enjoyed a good Vuelta, but his team are still looking for a win. He will challenge for the top 5, but needs a great day to make the podium.
Wilco Kelderman – his recent TT form isn’t great, but considering his current form, he has to be one of the favourites. The Dutchman will have sights on Ilnur Zakarin, who is only 3 seconds ahead of him on GC. Kelderman will be confident of taking time on the Russian and making it onto the overall podium. Nibali is 1:10 ahead of him, can you put some pressure on the Shark?
Tobias Ludvigsson – the Swedish TT champion is very inconsistent at world tour level. He finished 3rd in Calp, his best ever TT result. His most recent TT was the Euro Champs, where he finished way down in 18th. It is hard to predict what performance we will get.
This should be a formality for Chris Froome, who should win by 1 minute. Looking at the other top 10 riders, I don’t see huge gaps between them. The one who will suffer the most is Michael Woods, a rider that struggles against the clock. It is likely he’ll slide out of the top 10.
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