By David Hunter
San Benedetto Del Tronto 10.05km ITT
Time to see who wins the blue jersey.
The race ends with the usual time trial. Flat, hardly any corners and one for the powerhouses of the peloton.
There is a small threat of a thunderstorm, but I think it will stay dry for the riders. The wind won’t be a problem either.
Rohan Dennis – starts the stage as the overwhelming favourite. The Aussie enjoyed his trip to Abu Dhabi, taking another TT win, he really is hard to beat in a stage race ITT. He won this stage in 2017, beating his nearest rival by a huge gap of 3 seconds. Anything else than a Dennis win would be a big surprise.
Primoz Roglic – this has been a race full of bad luck for the Slovenia, despite a brilliant stage win. He is an awesome TT rider, I really hope to see him putting Dennis under pressure. Another stage win would be a good way to round off this race.
Jos Van Emden – was a little disappointing in the Abu Dhabi TT, but he should be better here. The Dutchman is very fast against the clock, but rarely beats Rohan Dennis.
Tony Martin – too short for the former world champion.
Stefan Küng – crashed hard at the start of the week, but he’s been looking strong pulling the bunch for long spells. 2017 was a fine year on his TT bike and he would hope to be challenging for the podium.
Luke Durbridge – after a brilliant TTT, someone from Mitchelton-Scott will be challenging for this stage. Turbo Durbo should be capable of a big ride, as could Michael Hepburn. Durbridge has recovered well from a collarbone injury and his form seems to be picking up at the right time.
Michal Kwiatkowski – the Pole is locked in a fight for the blue jersey. He holds a 3 second lead over Caruso and most would expect him to extend that gap. He’s won two Polish TT crowns, but only has one TT win in stage races and that was back in 2014. I don’t think he’ll win this stage, but he will win the blue jersey.
Geraint Thomas – another rider who hasn’t enjoyed good luck in this race. He will be confident of doing well enough to move into 2nd place overall. The former track star loves this type of TT and has a chance of getting close to Dennis.
Victor Campenaerts – I was a little worried about his move to Lotto, but his TT performance in the Algarve was brilliant. He is one of the rising stars in this discipline and should be competing for the podium.
Rohan Dennis for the stage and Michal Kwiatkowski for the blue jersey.
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