By David Hunter
At long last, cycling is back. It’s been a hugely challenging period for everyone, but thankfully we are now starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The Sibiu Tour might only be a 2.1 race, but it offers the first opportunity for most of the world’s professional cyclists to get some racing in the legs. Unfortunately, a recent spike in daily COVID cases in Romania has seen a couple of teams withdraw from the race. There is no doubt the race organisers will follow the correct protocols, but the fear some teams is the ever-changing travel restrictions within the EU. We are now left with two world tour teams, three pro-conti and the rest are continental. This should be any easy race for Bora to boss.
The race begins with a technical prologue through the old town. Just 2.5km long, the gaps will be small for the GC riders, but it gives many riders the chance of taking a win. Prologues usually favour sprinters, I see this being no different.
The Queen stage, one for the proper climbers to get their teeth into. The final climb is a whopping 25.2km at 5.8%, which will certainly test the legs after months without competitive racing. The climb is a relatively steady effort, which is good for those that like to settle into a rhythm. The winner of this stage will likely move into the race lead and be well set to claim the overall title.
This should be a sprint finish, but it does give the breakaway riders a chance too. Coming after the Queen stage, gaps will be huge and the vast majority of the peloton will no longer be a threat to the race leader. The attitude of Bora and ISUN will likely decide if we get a sprint.
A mountain TT! 12km at 5.5%. Head down, full gas, and hope the legs are good.
The second half of the day is a sprint stage, but it does end on some cobbles, and a little bump. This is a nailed on sprint and Ackermann will be the big favourite.
Patrick Konrad – Bora are the team to beat in this race. They are one of the two world tour teams here, which puts them at a huge advantage. It will be up to Bora to control the Queen stage, to try and set up a GC showdown on the big climb. Konrad is the best climber in the race, we are talking about a rider who finished 7th in the 2018 Giro and 3rd in the 2019 Tour de Suisse. He will start the race as the overwhelming favourite, it is a great chance for him to win his first stage race.
Gregor Mühlberger – the second-best climber in the race has to be Konrad’s Bora teammate. The Austrian has developed into a fine breakaway rider, every year his climbing seems to improve. Bora have the strongest team at the race, not only do they have the fastest sprinter, but they also have the best climbers. The Queen stage will likely decide who wins the race, but we have to see how Bora approach the stage. With two cards, they have to win the overall title.
Matteo Badilatti – the best climber in the other world tour team, ISUN. The Swiss rider is talented, but he’s not in the same league as the Bora duo. He should be fairly confident of finishing on the overall podium, missing out on that would be disappointing considering the riders he’s up against.
Serghei Tvetcov – the Romanian would love to do well in front of his fans. Now 31, Tvetcov is reaching the veteran stage of his career. After bouncing from team to team over the last few years, he now rides for Team Sapura, but will be representing his national team in this race. He’ll fancy his chances of performing well, maybe even taking the TT stage.
Michal Schlegel – The Czech rider represents Elkov – Kasper, the team who won the recent stage race in Poland. Schlegel has raced at a higher level than this, he was with CCC in 2017 and 2018. Last season he impressed in Tour Alsace, finishing 2nd overall and he also finished 6th in this race. He’s certainly a rider who you should keep your eye on.
Marco Tizza – the Italian is here with Amore & Vita – Prodir. He started the 2020 season in good form netting a top 10 result in Trofeo Laigueglia. He won a stage here last year and will hope to surprise the big names this year.
Bora simply have to win this race and I see Patrick Konrad taking his first stage race title.
Join us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional
Copyright © 2012-2020 Ciclismo Internacional. All Rights Reserved