Tour de Suisse 2016 – Stage 8 Preview
By David Hunter
Davos 16.8km ITT
After 3 demanding days in the mountains, the riders face a relatively short TT.
We are used to the TT in this race being very hard, but this route looks quite easy, with the climb being 3km at 5%. This should be a day for the specialists.
Vasil Kiryienka – the world champion will like the look of this route. He does prefer a longer TT, as his ability to “go deep” seems better than most. The rolling nature of the route will give him a decent chance of a big result. He should certainly be challenging for the stage.
Tejay Van Garderen – broke his European TT duck in Andalucia, but was a disappointing 11th in the Romandie TT. His stage win today made up for a poor Thursday. With that confidence, he is back in the GC picture, but needs a big TT. He’ll fancy himself to do so.
Geraint Thomas – was looking brilliant in the 2015 TT, but blew towards the end. At 18km, this should be about perfect for the Welshman. He usually performs very well in the Algarve TT, which is over a similar distance. He looks out of the GC picture, but will still want to win the TT.
Fabian Cancellara – took a brilliant win in the prologue and would love to double up here. Riding his last Tour de Suisse, he has that extra motivation that can sometimes be enough. His TT performances have been good this season, winning in Tirreno and the Algarve. The less demanding route is great for him, compared to some of his rivals.
Ion Izagirre – a very good stage for the Spaniard. He will be hopeful of putting all the other GC favourites under pressure and gaining time. He won the Romandie prologue and was 8th in the TT, so he has good form. I do like him against the clock, he is an improver.
Luke Durbridge – it’s been a while since he featured in my contenders list! He was fastest at the split in the prologue, but blew up in the last kilometre. The Aussie is a seriously good TT rider but seems to have turned his attention away from the discipline. As it’s Olympic year, he will have been back on his TT bike, in an effort to get a spot on the squad.
Michael Matthews – the early stages didn’t go the way he wanted. He’s spent a lot of time recently on his TT bike and I expect him to give it a good go. At 18km, it will probably be a little long for him.
Wilco Kelderman – blew in a spectacular way today. The TT should suit him, but he’ll be feeling down on himself. I doubt he’ll challenge for the win.
Simon Spilak – without being great, he’s still up there on GC. For him to win the TT, he needs to be on top form. He is not on top form!
Rui Costa – not usually the best TT rider, but he saves his best performances for this race. In the years that he’s won the race, he finished 8th, 13th and 3rd in the TT. I don’t expect him to win, but he would hope to make the top 10.
Petr Vakoc – another rider who has been putting in a lot of kilometres on his TT bike. He really is a ridiculously strong rider, capable of just about anything. He was 13th in the prologue and pulled like a bull on stage 3. He then finished 21st in the first mountain stage, just because he wanted to see how long he would last. Watch out for a big result!
Reto Hollenstein – I’ve really been impressed with him in 2016. His TT performances have been solid:- 9th in Valenciana, 11th in Andalucia, 11th in Tirreno and 21st in Romandie. He will expect to make the top 10, and I would be surprised if he didn’t.
Mathias Brandle – he seems to have lost his way a little this season. He is a talented TT rider, but I was expecting some wins from him. His 2nd place in the Giro was good, but that was mainly due to the terrible weather conditions for the later starters. He has a new contract to earn, so a big result here would help. His massive breakaway today will not have helped his legs.
All recent TTs seem to have been decided by the weather, this looks the same. Thunderstorms are expected around midday and at 4pm. That would be bad news for the GC riders, but good news for those that start in the middle.
If we have good weather for all, Cancellara should take another win.
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