By David Hunter
Nice – Valdeblore La Colmiane 165km
I doubt won’t to worry you, but this could be the last preview for quite a long time.
This is now the final stage of the race, which is a shame as it’s quite a boring one, with the peloton probably waiting for the final climb before lighting the fireworks.
16.2km at 6.3%, it’s a long one. We were here just a couple of years ago, with Simon Yates taking the win in horrible conditions. The gradients aren’t overly difficult for the big climbers, but the length of the climb means it will be selective, particularly when the attacks fly in the closing kilometres.
Sunny, with a little wind coming from the south. This means a bit of a crosswind for the big climb.
For a start off, the peloton is now very small for a race of this stature. Will this lead to a different type of race? Normally we would see a small break go up the road, which would be well controlled by the bunch, setting up a stage battle for the GC riders. The smaller the bunch, the more chance of something different happening. This race situation is unprecedented, nobody really knows what will happen.
Nairo Quintana – the Colombian has started the season in sparkling form, winning two stages and two GC titles. He came to Paris-Nice with the hope of winning the yellow jersey, but a crash ended those dreams. In terms of chasing the stage win, he knows that Schachmann won’t be looking to chase him down, he’s in the perfect position to take another mountain stage. He’ll be slightly concerned about the morning break making it all the way, especially as Arkéa don’t have full squad to police the early stages. If the win comes from the GC group, I can’t see anyone else beating him, he is very strong just now.
Anyone else – I could waste your time making you read about how Nibali, Pinot and Higuita will go close, but I won’t bother. Nairo is too strong.
Thomas De Gendt – breakaway hopeful 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Nairo Quintana will win the stage, and Tiesj Benoot the yellow jersey. Vamos!
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