By David Hunter
Trento – Rovereto 34.2km ITT
Time for some TT fun.
There’s not much to say about the route, it is made for the specialists. We have long, straight roads and very little climbing. It is perfect for those riders who can sustain a huge gear for a long period of time.
There is a good chance of thunderstorms, which isn’t great news for a TT. The wind is light, but it changes direction throughout the stage. It starts as a crosswind, but ends as a cross/headwind. Despite being light, the wind could have an impact on the later starters.
Tom Dumoulin – boy, does he need a big ride. After a disappointing ride on Sunday, big Tom starts the stage a massive 2:11 behind Simon Yates. The TT World Champion will need all of his brilliance to move into the pink jersey. He has gone fairly deep into his resources over the last few stages, but the rest day should have come to his rescue. He starts the stage as one of the big favourites, especially as he won the opening TT in Israel.
Rohan Dennis – the Aussie is currently sitting in 11th place, but a strong TT will see him leap up the leaderboard. He will be confident of gaining two minutes on the climbers and we could see him end the day in 7th place. Dennis is one of the best testers in the world, but this is new terrain for him. This is the first time he’s done a TT deep into a grand tour, when he’s been trying for GC. It will be interesting to see how his body reacts, but he should still be challenging for the win.
Victor Campenaerts – the European champion starts very early in the day, that could be in his favour. The Belgian went very close in the opening TT, but he is a rider that doesn’t often win. He has three wins in his career, all TTs, but none are big wins. It would take a monumental performance to win this stage.
Tony Martin – the former world champion hasn’t won a TT since the worlds in 2016, that is a surprising stat. He deliberately lost time on Sunday, as Katusha believe the early starters will have a better chance. Experience is hugely important at this point in a grand tour and that’s something he has lots of. I expect a big performance, but winning will be hard.
Alex Dowsett – finished beside Tony Martin on Sunday. The Englishman won a Giro TT back in 2013, but his career maybe hasn’t developed as most thought. He is a good rider and does have a decent record of wins, but he does lack some consistency. He should finish in the top 10, but he would like to challenging for the podium.
Jos Van Emden – won the final TT in the 2017 Giro, a massive result in his career. In 2018 he was close to winning the Tirreno TT, but Rohan Dennis beat him by 4 seconds. The Dutch rider is a brilliant TT man and I expect him to be challenging for the win. He wasn’t competitive in the opening TT, but that was due to him recovering from a sickness bug.
Vasil Kiryienka – one of the few riders who would have liked the TT to be even longer. The former world champion is brilliant in demanding TTs, but hasn’t won against the clock since the 2015 worlds.
Wout Poels – won the TT in Paris-Nice, but I don’t think the route suites him. This course is a little flat for the Dutchman.
Ryan Mullen – one of the riders who will be hoping for a big result. This is his first grand tour, so he must be starting to feel tired, which will impact on his TT performance. Despite this, he could still finish in the top 10.
Luis Leon Sanchez – another rider who has the experience required. He’s spent the race working for Miguel Angel Lopez, but should have freedom to chase some personal glory. Despite being a solid TT rider, he’s not actually won a TT since 2012.
Simon Yates is in incredible form. Despite not being the best tester, I think we’ll see him end the day in the pink jersey. The battle for 3rd will also be fascinating, with Pozzovivo and Pinot only separated by 9 seconds. The Frenchman should have enough to edge past the Italian to finish the day on the overall podium.
Only the weather can beat Tom Dumoulin. The wind seems to favour the early starters, but they could get the worst of the rain. Basically, it is impossible to predict the winner… but I’ll go with Dumoulin!
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