By David Hunter
Davos – Davos 117.7km
Another short but brutal stage.
Not much climbing, just 2 HCs!
The opening climb, Albulapass, is 17.4km at 6.9%.
That’s followed by 12.9km at 7.4%. Whoever wins this race will have earned it! This climb does have some easy sections, but after the week we’ve had this will be very difficult.
The opening climb is difficult, it just begs for a long range attack. Looking at the riders in this field, I’m not sure who is capable of such a move. Like all the other stages, it’s not a good day to be in the overall lead.
Astana do have some good riders here, but they will rely heavily on Scarponi. With 4 riders within 18 seconds, this is shaping up to be a brilliant battle. Lopez will have to play a great game of poker to win this race.
Expect to see the other teams try and drop Scarponi and then the fun begins. Talansky and Barguil will fancy out climbing Lopez, but Izagirre has struggled a bit on the climbs. I’m not sure how the Spaniard wins this race, but the others have a great chance.
Superman Lopez – he’s going to be a busy boy! Has looked very strong in the mountains, but will need help from his team and his rivals. It will be impossible to cover all the attacks, he will hope that the other riders will chase down moves too. He will come under fire on the climbs and final descent. Attacking might be his best option.
Andrew Talansky – continues to impress and surprise me. There were a few times he looked on the limit on Friday, but he battled through and finished well. His TT was also impressive and he’ll be confident of taking the 8 seconds back on Lopez. It’s a huge chance for the American to prove he still has what it takes.
Ion Izagirre – hasn’t been great on the climbs, but his TT was awesome. With some extra confidence, he’ll have a big say in this race. Has a fast finish too, which could be useful.
Warren Barguil – has an even faster finish. Certainly is the quickest of the GC riders, but will he have been hurt by today’s TT? It really was quite poor, but he has consistently climbed well in this race. Just 18 seconds down to Lopez, he will also fancy his chances of winning.
Tejay Van Garderen – when all the others are concerned with GC, the American could slip away and take the stage. He’s not going to win the GC, so I expect him to try the same move that worked on Friday.
Very good. On Friday, we only had a break of 3, which was a surprise. I expect a huge number of riders to make the morning move. There should be two races, one for the stage and another for GC.
Most of the riders who have been attacking already this week, will likely feature. Riders like Atapuma will surely feature. He already has a stage win, but his hopes will depend on the plan of Van Garderen. We might even see the Colombian sent up the road, in advance of an early Tejay move.
Scarponi is another option, but Lopez does have a big chance of winning the overall. Astana will need to keep all of their riders close to Lopez, to help when the attacks come.
Having riders up the road is a good option. With Talansky and Izagirre sitting close to Lopez, we should see some Cannondale and Movistar riders trying to make the morning move. A rider like Castroviejo would be great to have between the climbs.
I would expect to see quite a few of the top 20 going for a breakaway success. Watch out for Benoot, Polanc, Berhane, Kiryienka and Schleck. This is a big chance for a stage win.
There is a chance of rain for most of the stage.
I think the break survives and again I choose Tiesj Benoot!
Overall, I think that Lopez will somehow hold onto the yellow jersey. It’s going to be very hard but he is an incredible talent. Vamos Superman!
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