By David Hunter
La Locle – Morges 174km
Time for a proper sprint stage.
We have a long cat 2 climb in the middle of the stage, but this isn’t going to be raced hard. The final climb of the day is a cat 3 effort, which is around 8km at 3%, which shouldn’t cause any problems. Overall this stage has 2222m of climbing, which isn’t an easy day in the saddle, but this is Romandie, we don’t get any easy sprint stages.
The finale is relatively easy for the sprint trains too, with few corners to worry about. This is a day where the vast majority of the bunch will be more than happy with a small break and a big sprint.
A very wet morning, but the riders get a little lucky as they don’t start until 1315. This means they’ll miss most of the rain and get a fair bit of sunshine. Be aware, the forecast seems to constantly change in this part of the world.
Elia Viviani – time to see how his Giro preparation has been. The Italian has four wins to his name in 2019, that have come from ten sprinting opportunities, which is a pretty impressive strike rate. He arrives without a full sprint train, but still with the incredibly valuable Sénéchal and Sabatini. A win would be the perfect boost as he heads towards Italy.
Sam Bennett – six wins from fourteen opportunities, meaning his strike rate is better than the Italian, but not by much. This season has seen Bennett continue his impressive progression, taking his first ever wins against Viviani and Groenewegen. Now that he knows he can beat every sprinter in the world, he has a huge amount of confidence. His lead out isn’t as strong as Viviani, I think we’ll see the Irishman look to jump on Viviani’s wheel and hope to come around him. This is a risky tactic, but he doesn’t really have much of an option.
Sonny Colbrelli – will struggle in a flat sprint against the big two, especially as his team look weak in this race.
Matteo Moschetti – this is his first proper world tour stage race in his career, which is usually a huge learning experience. The Italian is a very fast finisher, but arriving without a proper lead out will make life very difficult for him as he looks to try and finish on the podium.
Simone Consonni – another sprinter without a lead out, this seems to be a recurring theme. He’s fast enough to challenge for the top 5, but winning will be incredibly difficult.
Giacomo Nizzolo – on paper, the only rider who can properly threaten the big two. Dimension Data are in desperate need of a result and will dearly hope that their Italian can take a surprise win. He started off the season by winning in Oman, but he’s been a little quiet since then; winning would be a massive boost ahead of the Giro.
At this point in the season, it’s got to be Elia Viviani.
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