Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2019 – Stage 4 Preview

By David Hunter

Vittoria – Arrigorriaga 164km

Another tough day in the saddle awaits the peloton.

On paper, this stage doesn’t look too bad, but the cat 1 climb coming with 40km to go is really difficult. This hill will seriously slim down the bunch, before another kick-up very close to the finishing line. The end of this race won’t be easy to control.

Breakaway Hopes

If you’re not a great climber, this is the last stage you can possibly win. We have some big gaps on the GC, which will allow freedom for some riders. The problem is Astana, they seem keen on controlling stages and looking to hurt everyone else. Although, do they look at this finish and think they can win?

Climbs

 4.3km at 9.6% is going to blow this race apart. It’s likely we’ll see Astana hit it hard, trying to drop as many domestiques as they can. One issue is that it does crest with 39km remaining, meaning it’s unlikely we’ll see the winning move go here.

 The final 7km presents many opportunities for the attacking riders. The first climb is 1220m at 6.9%. A steep descent follows for 860m, before the road kicks up for 1000m at 7.6%. With just 3km left in the stage, this is a wonderful opportunity for someone to attack and take a solo win, particularly as the descent is fast and quite technical.

Weather

Another day with quite a lot of rain showers. The wind is coming from the north-west, meaning a lot of headwind for everyone to contend with.

Contenders

Julian Alaphilippe – crashed hard today, I can’t see him recovering in time.

Michal Kwiatkowski – see above.

Max Schachmann – the yellow jersey is flying! Today was a magnificent stage win, and with crashes likely to hamper Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski, he has to start as the favourite. The German has the fastest sprint of the GC contenders, but will Bora be able to hold the stage together

Bjorg Lambrecht – lost time today, but I don’t think he crashed. He now sits ways down on GC and will certainly get a little freedom. This race has long been a target of his and he’d love to take a stage win. Given the legs he’s already shown, he could escape the bunch on the climbs and solo to a win.

Astana – their tactics will define the stage. The cat 1 climb is very difficult, which will suit Astana as they try to put pressure on the other leaders. They’ll hit it very hard and hope to drop most domestiques, allowing them the chance to attack in the final 7km. They don’t have a rider who can win from a sprint, that means they must attack on the climbs. Fuglsang will probably try first, couple followed by Ion Izagirre. I wonder if they’ll manage to escape.

Adam Yates – after losing time due to a puncture, he’s going to go full gas for a stage win. He sits a little down on GC, meaning some freedom could be given, but he wouldn’t get any from me. Can’t win a sprint, needs to go on the climb.

Winner Anacona – breakaway hopeful number 1.

Fabio Felline – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Prediction Time

Astana to control the stage and set up a crazy finale. They have the numbers to challenge the other teams, but Bora have Schachmann, Konrad and Buchmann. I think this sways it in their favour and Max Schachmann will take another win.

*Overall Preview

Remember I’ve now got a podcast too. Go and give it a listen

David Hunter

Follow us on @CiclismoInter

Join us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

Copyright © 2012-2019 Ciclismo Internacional. All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply