By David Hunter
Tain l’Hermitage – Belley 176km
The last chance for the sprinters.
Quite a boring day for the bunch.
Yet again, the organisers have created a tricky finish. Not only is the last kilometre at 2.6%, but we have to negotiate a roundabout at the kite and a hard double corner, just 200m from the finishing line. This is not going to be easy.
All about the last 5km. You must take the roundabout, at 3.2km, on the right. The next roundabout, at 2.7km, is best taken on the left. Then it’s full gas till the finishing line. Lead out trains will be worth their weight in gold, but no head butts please!
Nacer Bouhanni – winner of stage 1 and full of confidence. Getting another win over Kristoff would be huge for Bouhanni. He is certainly looking fast but the uphill sprint is not his speciality.
Alexander Kristoff – the uphill sprint is his speciality! As soon as the road tilts upwards, Kristoff is extremely hard to beat. His lead out were wonderful on Monday, but he let them down. He needs a win, after going very close today.
John Degenkolb – another that loves an uphill sprint. Still seems a little off his top level, so winning the stage will be hard.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – the finish certainly brings him closer to the others, but he would prefer it to be a little steeper.
Sam Bennett – despite only having Shane Archbold, Bennett was an impressive 3rd on Monday. Yet another sprinter who likes an uphill sprint, but a longer lead out would increase his chances of challenging.
Nicolo Bonifazio – was a good boy and worked for Thuens on Monday, will now get his chance to sprint. He’s yet to win for Trek but has picked up 2nd places in Paris-Nice and Romandie. The Italian is fast, finishing on the podium today.
Jens Debusschere – his 2nd place was a wonderful piece of positioning and speed. After a terrible crash in Gent-Wevelgem, it’s great to see the Belgian back to his best. On form, he can mix it with the big boys, but he doesn’t normally compete with them in terms of speed. The technical finish is great news for him, as is the uphill sprint.
A little cloudy at the finish, but it should stay dry.
It’s the last sprint of the race, the break doesn’t stand a chance.
Keep An Eye On
The battle between the trains of Katusha and Cofidis.
Katusha line up with Haller, Morkov and Guarnieri. Cofidis go with Bozic, Soupe and Laporte. After the fierce battle on Monday, this is going to be very interesting indeed. The Katusha boys were terrific that day, not letting the Cofidis train push them around. Expect a similar type of battle.
Should be Kristoff v Bouhanni, round 2! This time, the uphill finish should see Kristoff take the champagne.
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