By David Hunter
Baar – Baar 187.6km
Another day in Baar.
After the opening TT, this should be one for the sprinters.
The riders complete four laps of the circuit, which contains one categorised climb. The cat 2 climb is 5.4km at 4%, so not overly difficult. However, there is a lot of other climbing in the stage and the peloton will actually cover 2124m of climbing. That’s quite a lot for a sprint stage.
We have a number of teams here with world class sprinters. They will be very keen on setting up a sprint, so it doesn’t look good for anyone else. It’s hard to see anything else other than a controlled stage.
As finishes go, this isn’t too bad. The road does go up, but it’s a very gentle rise towards the finishing line.
Peter Sagan – the world champion took two impressive wins in California. He will be supported by Oscar Gatto, but he never really needs much help when it comes to positioning. He loves this race, winning 11 stages in the last 5 editions. He will expect another couple of wins this year.
Michael Matthews – not really a sprinter anymore, but still took a sprint win in Paris-Nice. He will have the support of Michael Albasini, another rider who has won plenty of stages in this race. With Hayman, Durbridge and Cort Nielsen, the Aussies have a formidable looking sprint train.
Fernando Gaviria – the young Colombian, who they are all scared of! He has the best lead-out man here in Max Richeze and a formidable looking train. Gaviria is just getting back into things after a strong spring campaign. Etixx will be keen to see how he compares to Sagan and Matthews, two riders he is very similar to.
Danny van Poppel – after a frustrating start to 2016, DVP has started to get some results. He won a stage in Yorkshire and was competitive in California. One problem is the lack of a lead-out man. He’s going to have to follow other sprint trains and hope to get a little bit lucky.
JJ Lobato – the recent winner of the Vuelta Madrid, Lobato will be hoping for some good performances here. The Spaniard is a frustrating rider who lacks consistency and an ability to position himself. Gorka Izagirre is here, just as well really, as he seems to be the only Movistar rider who gets the best out of Lobato. He doesn’t have the same speed as Sagan, but he should be looking to get onto the podium.
A humid day with a strong chance of thunderstorms. Looks like being a wet day for the bunch.
Keep An Eye On
Ray Kreder – the Dutchman has enjoyed a great start to 2016, with 12 top 10 results to his name. He’s a sprinter that is looking to get back into the big time and this season will have certainly help. Roompot might not be the biggest team, but they know how to deliver their sprinter. I hope to see Kreder in the mix again.
It should be a fight between Sagan and Gaviria. I will go with the Colombian to continue his dominance against Sagan. He beat him in San Luis and Tirreno!
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