By David Hunter
Cham – Cham 172.7km
After the opening time trial, we start the race for real.
I love the look of this stage! We have 4 laps of a circuit around the streets of Cham. Each time round, the riders must tackle the climb in Horben. This little hill is 2km at 11.4%! I love the Tour de Suisse organisers.
This will be a real test of legs for all concerned. Any rider that arrives here a little under, or overcooked, is likely to lose time. The last ascent crests with 22.8km remaining, making a solo win very unlikely.
The end of the stage is quite easy. The road does rise with 2km to go, but it’s not overly steep. The last corner comes with around 1.5km remaining, making it easy to organise a sprint, especially if the group is reduced.
Beautiful sunshine with little wind.
Michael Albasini – loves his home race and is brilliant on steep slopes. I don’t have to remind you of his incredible record on Mur de Huy! Looking at the speed of some of his rivals, I don’t think Albasini will want to bring Sagan and Matthews to the line, the Orica rider will be looking to attack and drop those that are quicker than him.
Peter Sagan – a great stage for the world champion. He can climb very well, especially with the Tour just around the corner. As the final ascent is over 20km from home, the climbers will find it hard to drop Sagan. Like in many stages, I don’t think he’ll have much support, but that is something he has grown used to. If he senses that some will try to lean on him, Sagan will attack. That is one of the reasons we love him!
Greg Van Avermaet – returned at the Tour of Luxembourg and was straight back into winning. He knows that Sagan can outsprint him, that means we’ll see GVA on the attack. Expect to see fireworks on the final climb, but he can also attack on the flat.
Jan Bakelants – the Tour of Belgium was his first race since Milan-Sanremo and he seemed to enjoy himself. The Belgian is one of those incredibly consistent riders, but he does struggle to take wins. He has a chance, but only if given some freedom by the others.
Tim Wellens – will attack from distance, we will then see who follows. Despite winning a sprint in Andalucia, he’ll want to arrive solo.
Philippe Gilbert – after his stunning spell in the classics, you can be sure that Gilbert is gathering up some form for the Tour de France. He’s in the same position as GVA, as he cannot beat Sagan in a sprint. The Belgian has been very attacking in 2017, he will surely try to go long in this stage.
Michael Matthews – if he is on form, I don’t see him getting dropped on the climb. He will hope that Tom Dumoulin can control the small bunch and set up a sprint. He would have a big chance of taking the win.
John Degenkolb – this stage looks too hard for the German.
Jarlinson Pantano – just in case the stage turns into a GC day. The Tour de Suisse has previous for this, when stages suddenly become ultra selective. Pantano is the fastest of the GC riders and would certainly benefit from a demanding day of racing.
This promises to be a brilliant stage. We have a number of the best riders in the world, all of whom like to attack. The last two climbs will be taken at high speed, in the hope of dropping the likes of Matthews. The final climb will be attacked, with riders looking to break the elastic.
I think this will happen and a group of around 6 riders will approach the line together. I think it’s another day for Greg Van Avermaet.
Follow us on @CiclismoInter
Join us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional
Copyright © 2012-2017 Ciclismo Internacional. All Rights Reserved